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Listings crisis as sellers still reluctant to come forward

Parts of Britain are so short of homes for sale they have only half the number of listings to be expected at this time of year.Rightmove says Newmarket in Suffolk is the very worst location with the number of sales being agreed up 79 per cent on last July, while new sellers putting their properties up for sale is down by 49 per cent.

The top ten new supply shortage hotspots are all in South East and East of England, with average asking prices in three of the hotspots – Newmarket, Berkhamsted and Bushey – up by nine per cent since 2019.

The portal says that nationally the average number of available properties on an agent’s books is 16, down from 29 in July 2020.

The stock shortage is being felt across the country, with the average available stock per agent on Rightmove dropping from 29 in July 2020 to just 16 properties now.

Around two third of properties have already found a buyer, and some of the hotter areas like Newmarket are seeing a higher rate of three quarters of homes already sold subject to contract.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, comments: “If we think back to July last year the market in England had been open again for around six weeks, the stamp duty holiday was announced, and a summer frenzy was just beginning.

“Twelve months on, the combination of fewer sellers coming to market and sustained demand has resulted in a summer seller shortfall, and so the challenge for agents now is to try and replenish the stock to meet the demand from buyers.

“For those considering coming to market this year, now could be the time to find out what your home could be worth from a local agent.”

To give an example of the stock drought in the worst-hit area, Neil Harris – director at Cheffins in Newmarket – says: “There’s a real shortage of houses for sale which means that for every property which does come available, we see huge levels of interest.

“We’ve consistently benefitted from Cambridge’s house price growth, and as Cambridge becomes increasingly expensive, coupled with its fast-growing population and booming economy, buyers have continually looked to move to Newmarket in search of more space for their money. Similarly, as the days of the five day a week commute appear to be coming to an end, we’ve seen a growth in buyers from London coming to the area, seeking out countryside and village homes at lower price tags.”

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