Fresh figures have provided further evidence of a supply imbalance in the housing market that is pushing up prices and disenfranchising first-time buyers.
Data from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) shows that in June there were 439 house hunters registered for each branch, The Times reports, up 15 compared to May. The number of homes listed for sale in each branch fell during the month from 46 to 44, meaning there are as many as ten prospective buyers for every home for sale in the UK.
The paper notes that the number of actual sales remained steady at nine per branch, but that sales made to first-time buyers in particular declined. Would-be first-timers are being squeezed by house price inflation, which despite a cooling in recent months continues to outpace inflation and means in particular that the level of saving required for a deposit is becoming more onerous.
The Mirror reports estate agency Haart has published separate figures showing house prices for those looking to get onto the ladder for the first time rose to £166,393 in June, up £4,150 on the previous month and £12,000 in the past year. The increase equates to a price rise of £138 every day.
Demand for housing is thought to be rising at the moment in part because of an expectation that interest rates are set to rise in the near future, which is prompting many to seek to lock in purchases at currently low mortgage rates. Such a surge would be temporary, but does not fully account for what many see as a chronic supply imbalance that is dividing the market and favours existing owners.
The BBC says on the back of the figures the NAEA has called for an increase in house building. “The election was full of promises to build more houses, but now those promises need to be put into bricks and mortar to respond to demand,” it said.
House prices 2015: inflation to hit 10% in cities
House prices in the UK’s 20 largest cities could be rising by as much as 10 per cent by the end of the year as demand continues to surge, according to latest figures from property analysts Hometrack.
The researcher reports that during the first half of the year prices in UK cities rose by 6.3 per cent, with Oxford leading the way with an average increase of eight per cent. This echoes the findings of Hometrack’s annual figures, published last month, which showed Oxford has the largest price increase over the past year of close to £42,000.
London and Glasgow were the next top movers over the first six months of 2015, while Aberdeen, which has been hit by a decline in the oil industry, was the worst performer, with prices remaining flat. Liverpool and Sheffield both saw rises but remain behind their market peak of 2007.
According to the Daily Mail, Hometrack’s data show property values across the 20 cities in the study increased by 8.4 per cent year-on-year last month alone, with an average price of £226,200. Oxford and Cambridge were the best performers with both recording annual growth above 10 per cent, ahead even of London.
Earlier this week a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted house price rises across the UK as a whole would settle to a steady five per cent per year over the coming decade as a shortage of supply continued to bite, which would leave more than half of under 40s unable to get onto the property ladder.
Source : TheWeek.co.uk