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Written by Mike Jones

The sales market recovery is stuttering due to a serious shortage of property.

According to the latest research from the National Association of Estate Agents house hunter numbers are at their highest for almost seven years but stocks are at a six year low.

Its December Housing Market Report reveals a 14.4 per cent increase in the number of house hunters registering with NAEA agents during December.

But the supply of properties fell of 7.9 percent - the third consecutive month to report a fall in the number of properties entering the market.

The average of 47 properties available for sale per branch is the lowest number recorded since July 2007.

And, while prospective buyer interest is high, few are actually purchasing with sales falling by a third last month, although this could be explained partly by the fact it was December where seasonal drops are the norm.

NAEA President Jan Hÿtch said: “The increase in house hunters during December was a welcome surprise at a time where agents usually expect activity to slow down. The multiple media reports predicting price increases in 2014 could have played a part as buyers try to ‘beat the rush’.

“It is encouraging to see that first time buyers remained strong in December, but the continued tightening of supply in the housing market is a genuine concern. The number of properties entering the market is now at a six year low which means competition for the best properties will be fierce in many areas."


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    Internetseeker - probably - but then that depends entirely on one's interpretation of "being more successful"... ;o)

    More time to Tw@tter, maybe? Update the company Facebook page? Or just be able to spend more quality time pestering the bejeezus out of other agents' vendors in the hope of meeting your instructions target for the month/week/hour (delete as applicable)?

    Answers on a postcard, please...

    • 23 January 2014 12:51 PM
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    I hardly think the tiny number of posts on here is going to make any odds to the market.

    Anyhow this is much better now there was a time when a Miles Shipside blahing was certain to get 100 posts and a Hendry firball at least 300.

    • 23 January 2014 12:50 PM
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    I wonder if us agents would be more successful if we didn't spend so much time commenting on news stories on EAT

    • 23 January 2014 12:18 PM
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    I'd thank you for the link to the EAT Blog but it would be through gritted teeth for the fact that the moments of my life I spent reading it I can't now get back.

    • 23 January 2014 11:47 AM
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    Hmmm... to the person to which this concerns...

    You Tw@ttered "This is a big problem at the moment for (Agency name deleted...) - we have more buyers than we have houses to sell so..." - and linked to this page.

    Here's my problem with that. The article relates the fact that Estate Agents stock is DIMINISHING. Yours isn't - it has increased over the last three months, has it not?

    We ALL have more "buyers" than stock, matey - don't think you're in an exclusive club in that respect.

    It might look good in 140 characters - but when prospective sellers ask you what percentage of properties on your register are actually Under Offer, you'll look a bit silly - especially when you remove the two (which are actually ONE property, advertised in two different formats...) that I think completed last week, did they/it not?

    • 23 January 2014 11:01 AM
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    There has been a spate of holiday cancellations at the Butlin's resorts. It seems that an unconfirmed rumour has given rise to fears about this years entertainment.

    Holiday makers are not so much concerned about the content of the readings of the from P Hendry's life works "You don't want to do it like that you have to do it my way" (appently taking inspiration from both Harry Enfield and Frank Sinatra) but are concerned that the 6 week school holidays aren't long enough to hear every riviting sentance of the live, unabridgable, readings.
    With fines imposed on those taking kids out of school during term time it is thought the only solution is to join the cult and have the kids home schooled.

    • 23 January 2014 10:43 AM
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    Until you can find a way of controlling who sleeps with who, what the offspring do or don't do with their lives, there never ever will be a perfect market.

    Go and do some weeding or pottering in the shed, watch Jeremy Kyle but for the sake of you own dignity and obituary please resist the temptation to post the stuff that is whirling around in you head.

    • 23 January 2014 10:25 AM
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    Mr Bowers...

    You say you don't know who 'RR' is - the first reaction I would have is "lucky you"... however I think that in order to know the man you need to see for yourself what he is pushing out into the public domain.

    EAT allowed him some exposure, and published one of his many 'blog' entries back in 2011. You can see it here:

    If you care to search for his woeful blog (I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of linking to it here...) you will see many other of his amazing rantlets.

    It would be interesting to hear your observations!

    And as for this latest, Mr RR - let me assure you that I'll be sticking my oar in the water later.

    You and I have many miles left to travel on your current 'fix' for the market...

    • 23 January 2014 10:24 AM
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    God - the only thing more inane than this meandering pointless recycled article is RR's contribution.

    Thank you mate you have saved me hours looking in the thesaurus for words to describe Mr Hendry's posts that didn't offend the sensitivities of the audience.

    Judging by the way this is all going my fear is that PH could soon be one of the experts we were promised.

    • 23 January 2014 10:13 AM
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    Thanks for the clarification. As I read the post, reaching for the shotgun and scribbling a quick note to the wife & kids on the whereabouts of the family silver, I actually thought 'Is it just me'!

    • 23 January 2014 09:30 AM
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    That's a bit homelessist isn't it! I don't think a tramp would like to be compared to an estate agent, give them some hope please.

    • 23 January 2014 07:56 AM
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    @Jon Bowers,

    You've summed it up well, RR writes a lot, all of it cobblers and he's well known here, imagine EAT as a town, well RR is the incoherent drunk that staggers around shouting at cars covered in his own sick and pee, everyone knows him, sometimes he stays in his cardboard box for a long while, we all assume he died and then whoosh, he's back in town dribbling away and repeating himself over and over


    • 22 January 2014 22:40 PM
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    The ONLY RR is wish to hear from is the wonderful Ros Renshaw whose contribution is missed more by the day.

    • 22 January 2014 20:34 PM
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    God - the only thing more inane than this meandering pointless recycled article is RR's contribution.

    • 22 January 2014 20:30 PM
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    Error correction (mainly a 'not' was left out)!
    "That leaves, the only remaining explanation as the valid one (however unwanted). It is that the price being asked is too high, so not enough is sold and UNsatisfied demand remains."

    • 22 January 2014 18:30 PM
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    I am aghast at how little knowledge agents like yourself have about basic economics.
    What's even worse is the fact you are prepared to argue your case, unknowingly, displaying your ignorance!

    If what you say is correct then when there is not enough of something that people want, the price goes up until more of what they want goes on the market for sale to counterbalance demand until the position is reached when supply equals demand and the price the item is being traded at is known as the 'market price'.

    My explanation, contrary to this, states that in a perfect market, all the demand is satisfied and all the supply is sold when the price being obtained is 'market price'.
    If the price being asked is too high, not enough is sold and UNsatisfied demand remains.
    (If the price being asked is too low, everything being offered is sold, resulting in insufficient supply to satisfy demand.)

    The trick is to know which of the two extremes is tending to happen in any current marketplace.
    One only has to look at the extreme price growth of recent years compared with the lesser growth in earning power since the recent recession, to realise that the proposition contained in brackets cannot be what is happening currently.

    That leaves, as the only remaining explanation is the valid one (however unwanted). It is that the price being asked is too high, so enough is sold and UNsatisfied demand remains.

    The difficulty I am describing is when agents continue to 'ask' more and more 'in excess of' the current market price.
    Sellers become nervous, as they are not sure if the prices being quoted are moving ever upwards and so they tend to want to ask more than market price to try and compensate.
    This also results in less property going onto the market at a time when in fact more is needed to bring prices back to equilibrium, or to current market price.

    It also causes buyers to get jittery as they too are less and less convinced that the prices houses are exchanging hands for will be able to be sustained in the medium/longer term.

    The effect of this is to cause 'the whole market' to stagnate, or in other words for the volume of transactions to reduce significantly.
    This is exactly the trend we are currently seeing.

    If the prices being quoted are too far away from what the market will stand, the market contracts.

    If nobody within estate agency can see the logic of this argument; we have a serious problem.

    What will it take for our agents to realise what is going on and to change so as to compensate for the stagnation caused by excessive asking prices?

    • 22 January 2014 18:25 PM
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    I generally refrain from posting on here but do enjoy reading the comments which vary greatly in both rationality and logic. I agree with some, others are just plain daft.

    However, I am at a loss to even begin to comprehend what the post at the bottom of this page is driving at. Am I the only one that sees a river of words, flowing aimlessly down the page in no particular order and with no particular destination to reach?

    I have no idea who RR is, some of the posters seem to, but is he doing a summer season at Butlins this year?

    • 22 January 2014 16:10 PM
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    One other thing to consider.

    A significant number of people are not confident of their future financial and employment situation. Therefore if it is not really necessary to move, buy or sell they are 'hunkering down' in sufficient numbers to affect the market..

    • 22 January 2014 14:09 PM
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    The old goat RR lives and is still as mad as a badger


    • 22 January 2014 14:07 PM
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    NO....supply and demand become out of balance when there is not enough of something that people want. Be it apples, wheat or houses. There is nothing an agent can do to change that.

    • 22 January 2014 13:22 PM
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    Dear Wardy,
    In case you may need reminding, supply and demand are in balance whenever the price being suggested is the current open market price.

    If it isn't, supply and demand become out of balance. That is the situation which we are all faced with right now.

    The market won't self-correct without agents changing the way they service the market and banks restrain themselves from wanting to lend more and more, inappropriately.

    I would like to think Jan Hÿtch will know this, even if you don't, and will be prepared to reply irrespective of whether the correspondent happens to be a member of her organisation.

    • 22 January 2014 12:37 PM
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    I think Mrs Hÿtch would be far more likely to reply if:
    a, You was a member of the NAEA.
    b, you knew what you was talking about.

    This is no longer about agents fee's and banks, this is about simple supply and demand and for you to not understand the very basics of commerce is frankly worrying.

    • 22 January 2014 12:27 PM
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    Having read thru your synopsis it isn't any wonder Jan Hytch or anybody else has contacted you, it is possible that the market is "broken" at the moment but normally we Estate Agents do get it fixed however your proposal means smashing it to pieces creating an estate agent that is already out there and called a "relocation agent".As for the rest, I have found over the years that surveyors don't really know much about our business or our job but they always deign to have an opinion,so unless I am reading your idea wrongly I believe there is almost every time an estate agent negotiating at the top middle and bottom of a chain albeit not always the same one but that's why we have telephones, to talk to each other and believe me if we want to get paid ( which is at the end of a transaction)we do talk to each other and get the job done and mostly for a satisfied client.

    • 22 January 2014 11:54 AM
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    RR you are sooooo funny!

    • 22 January 2014 11:29 AM
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    A pertinent article but without any meaningful conclusion. The clear reason for this is that it's owing to the complexity of the necessary solution.

    Until we all accept that over reliance on available credit is causing these asking price spikes, nothing can be done to resolve the issue!

    The best way to resolve the issue would be to make the estate agents do the deal-making at BOTH ends of the sales chain - and before they get paid any commission!

    All house agents should be prepared to be remunerated for buying AND selling clients' houses; depending upon how well they perform.

    It should be done in very much the same way as politicians are currently voted into parliament! In other words, estate agents should depend for their livelihoods on whether 'their client' thinks they are doing a good job; - or not. If they are THAT confident, they should be very happy to work using this principle.

    The estate agent that shows they have done the best job, should be the one that gets remunerated for their efforts - not any old contracted/ or locked-in estate agent which doesn't do a particularly good job.

    This could easily be achieved if several agents were selected by each client, right from the beginning, both to help in the search for the clients next property and in progressing the sale of their existing property. This is a simple change from the now old idea that people first need to choose the estate agent that they prefer!!

    I've written to Jan Hÿtch about this recently but I have received no reply or comment. I'd now be interested to hear her views publicly and online here instead.

    I've advised her that the agent which delivers the client the best service by finding the most suitable property at the most suitable price, whilst also concluding the sale of the property simultaneously being disposed of, should be the agent that gets paid their commission. They would simply be paid on simultaneous completion of both transactions and via the client's solicitor using the existing legal arrangements. It really is that simple.

    "This would help to counteract the build up of excessive asking prices, which damage the housing economy and cause both volume stagnation AND general misinformation, primarily with the hidden agenda of boosting mortgage SALES."

    Without such a vital change to the way houses are marketed in England and Wales, house price spikes followed by confusion and volume stagnation will continue to be the norm, to the chagrin of most whom may hope to move house when they consider necessary. Ironically, the losers are also the estate agents!

    "We all deserve far better than this.", says Peter Hendry, a retired surveyor with over 30 years wide-ranging experience working within the property industry.

    • 22 January 2014 10:55 AM
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