Lack of quality homes for sale

UK asking prices jumped by more than £5,000 in February as landlords, often slow to sell, limited choice on the market for house hunters.

The average asking price for a property across England and Wales was £279,004 this month, marking a 2.1pc or £5,729 increase on January according to the leading listings website, Rightmove.

As interest in the market heats up, following the traditionally quiet months of January and February, some estate agents are reporting their lowest ever stocks of quality property for sale, analysts at the portal found.

The website said the UK’s chronic housing supply shortage, caused by three decades of low levels of construction, is now being intensified by an increase in homes being owned by buy-to-let investors, who tend to be buying a property as part of a long-term plan and are more likely to keep it for longer than an owner-occupier would.

There is also a reluctance among people looking to move to put their own property on the market as they can see few suitable homes to buy.

Rightmove, whose survey started in 2002, said the average available stock for sale per estate agency branch for the last two months has never been lower on its records at the start of the year than in 2015.

Some 57 properties were on the market per branch in December, increasing to 58 per branch in January.

The website said that new seller numbers this month are also 4pc below those recorded in the same period in 2014.

All regions across the country have seen asking prices increase over the last year, from a 9.7pc year-on-year increase in London, where the average price is £582,483, to a 1.8pc increase in Wales, where sellers are typically asking £169,136.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said: “Many who are contemplating moving will have noticed a lack of suitable property for sale in their area, and may be hoping that it’s a temporary shortage.

“What they may not fully appreciate is that this is the new norm, and is the consequence of over 20 years of not enough homes being built to meet the burgeoning growth in household numbers, resulting in a lack of quality homes for sale in many popular areas of the UK.”


By Anna White, Telegraph Property correspondent

12:01AM GMT 16 Feb 2015