New property listings drop 13% in July

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The number of UK homeowners putting their properties on the market fell dramatically in July, down 13.2% across the UK and almost 15% in London, according to the latest Property Supply Index by online estate agents HouseSimple.

Pay-as-you-go agent HouseSimpleooked at the number of new properties listed on Rightmove in July compared to June, in more than 100 major towns and cities across the UK and all 32 London boroughs. Only one in six towns and cities saw new property listings increase in July.

The majority of locations have seen new stock levels fall in the past month. Glasgow and Edinburgh have seen new property listings fall off a cliff in July, dropping by almost a third (30.3%) in Glasgow and 29.7% in the Scottish capital. Milton Keynes (28.2% fall) and Sunderland (28.1% fall) have fared little better. While Swindon, which saw a 40.5% rise in new property listings in June, has seen new listings plunge, down a quarter (25.2%) in July compared to June.

Meanwhile, a quarter of the towns and cities that saw the biggest falls in new property listings in July were in the south west of England. A fifth were each in the south west of England and the West

It’s well documented that the UK is currently suffering from a property shortage. The seasonal drop off in market activity during the summer months is partly attributed to this fall in new properties being listed. But housing stock has been at low levels well before the summer. And the expected stampede of sellers after the General Election in May never materialised as homeowners have been reluctant to market.

According to research, the capital has a serious property supply shortage, with new stock levels down 14.9% in July. Bexley has seen new property listings fall almost a third (31.4%) in July compared to June, while new stock levels in Kensington & Chelsea, a favourite with foreign buyers, have fallen by almost a quarter (24.5%) in July.

Bromley is the only London borough to see an increase in new property stock in July, and even then by less than 1%.

Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents comments:

“Any hope that sellers were finally returning to the market seems to have been a vain one for the time being. A boost to new stock levels in June suggested that we were finally starting to see some movement from sellers, but that momentum seems to have been short-lived. The General Election, which the market hoped would provide a catalyst for sellers, is long gone and property stock numbers remain well below normal levels.

“Why are homeowners not moving is the $64,000 question. Is it because they can’t afford to as property prices have risen out of reach of them? Or maybe they’re not confident about market conditions, despite the strength of the economy and the highly competitive mortgage rates on offer at the moment? Somehow, sellers need to be encouraged back to the market because there are buyers galore waiting when they do. It’s a very attractive market right now for motivated sellers.

“The next few months are going to be important as the property market looks to gather momentum heading into the last quarter of the year. We fully expected activity to drop off in the summer months, but come the Autumn the market needs to replenished with stock to realign the supply versus demand balance.”