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Stock shortage is worst I’ve seen in 30 years, says agent

An agent in part of the UK with the strongest seller’s market claims the stock shortage is the worst he’s seen in 30 years - while demand seems endless.

Bradley Start, a partner at Start & Co in the Cornish town of Newquay, says he’s getting requests for viewings within minutes of a property being listed on Rightmove, with many homes going to best and final offers - something he would normally see only rarely. 

“The stock shortage is the worst I’ve seen in thirty years and there’s just seemingly endless demand” says Start. 


“It’s a mix of locals moving, people buying holiday homes and those relocating completely, which is leading to more out-of-town buyers than we would normally see. 

“Those who are choosing to relocate are, understandably, looking for a home right by the sea, which is pushing up demand even more for those homes with the all-coveted sea view. 

“The lack of stock I think is mostly down to the fact that sellers are unsure that they will be able to find a replacement property to buy, but if more sellers decided to come to market this would help across the whole chain.”

It’s a similar story in some other parts of the country.

Simon Shepherd, branch manager of Ashtons in Newton-Le-Willows says: “The past year has just been crazy. First-time buyers are queuing up for starter homes, and many of those moving from starter homes are looking for four bed detached homes which are few and far between. When one comes up for sale it’s snapped up immediately, especially those that are within walking distance to the high street. 

“Some people are selling up their smaller houses closer into Liverpool and moving out here as well, which has pushed up prices to an all-time high. 

“Right now I’ve had to rip up the rule book because the demand means it’s hard to predict what a home is going to sell for, as in many cases we’re achieving over the asking price.” 

Newquay and Newton-Le-Willows are identified by Rightmove as the two strongest sellers’ markets right now. The portal’s league table is below.


% of properties that are Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC)


Average asking price


Newquay, Cornwall



Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside



Plymstock, Devon



Hailsham, East Sussex



Canvey Island, Essex



Atherton, Manchester



Quedgeley, Gloucestershire



Willingdon, East Sussex



Whitchurch, Bristol



Melksham, Wiltshire



  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Busiest market when I was selling as an agent was 1988, two million completions that year, then it was like a nuclear blizzard, no real market for four years and prices jumped off a cliff. With BoE at 0.1% base rate not really likely we will see a hike in mortgage rates, but Furlough is likely to be a kicker, unless the Chancellor continues to support those most hit by the pandemic.


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