There may be rain outside but the housing market is now officially in a drought according to the National Association of Estate Agents.
It says the supply of homes on the market at the start of the traditional sales season has been the lowest it has ever recorded.
New figures just released for the month of March show that an average of 37 properties were available to buy at each NAEA member branch.
That’s actually up from the 34 average recorded a month earlier but is nonetheless the lowest for the month of March that the NAEA has seen in the seven years it has been recording data.
In March 2013 there were 60 homes per member branch; this dipped to 42 in March 2014 and rose again to 49 and 54 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
In March 2017 the figure was 39 per branch and then 40 a year ago; the March 2019 figure of 37 is easily the lowest March in the seven years of data.
After demand dipped in February, the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch rose in March from 252 to 296.
Year-on-year, demand was the lowest level recorded for the month of March since 2013 when 286 house hunters were registered.
First time buyers also register bad news: after an increase in the number of sales made to FTBs in February, the figure fell from 30 per cent to 26 per cent in March.
The number of sales agreed per member branch remained at seven in March, the same level reported for the previous two months. Year-on-year, it was down slightly from eight in March 2018.
The ongoing Brexit saga is seen by the NAEA as the chief culprit.
“The levels of supply and demand recorded aren’t where we would expect them to be at this time of year. It’s clear buyers and sellers are still feeling cautious and holding off on making any decisions in light of the current political climate and economic uncertainty. However, recent house price data indicates we might see confidence in the market grow as house prices slowly begin to return to previous levels and we edge closer to the summer months” says a hopeful Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark’s chief executive.