A leading estate agent says fear of strangers coming into people’s homes is leading to a fall in supply of properties coming to the market.
Kate Eales, head of regional residential agency at Strutt & Parker, says: “We’re seeing some would be sellers concerned about viewings and the practicalities of putting their property on the market right now.
“Some are waiting until restrictions ease before marketing their home and as a result stock levels are down. Last year we saw demand rise for family homes off the back of people’s experiences in lockdown and this is where we are seeing the biggest shortage of stock.”
Another agent - Richard Freshwater, director at Cheffins in Cambridge - says: “Lockdown #3 brought with it a drop in the number of property valuations taking place. This has created a lack of new available stock in the market, particularly in the higher price brackets, which we forecast will bring with it a rise in property values.
“As the shortage of supply is unlikely to be addressed until the vaccine roll out is in its later stages, frustrated buyers will continue to struggle to find the type of home which they are looking for. Until the demand vs supply equation is balanced out, competitive bidding is likely to increase causing inflated property values.”
Rightmove reports that the number of new sellers coming to market is 21 per cent down over the last four weeks when compared with this time last year.
The portal says worst affected are the sectors one might expect to be juggling home-schooling responsibilities alongside daily life. This “appears to be delaying some owners of family homes from coming to market” the portal adds.
The ‘second-stepper’ and ‘top of the ladder’ sectors with three bedrooms or more see 25 per cent fewer new listings between them. In contrast, properties with two bedrooms or fewer are only down by 16 per cent.