Housing supply has halved in the last ten years

Housing supply in Britain remains a huge problem – and the outlook only looks worse, writes property developer Richard Carr.

Falling numbers

First time buyers - Richard Carr

First time buyers are suffering

In December last year (2015) the average number of properties available per estate agent branch was just 37. This is considerable drop compared to the same month in 2005 when 72 houses were on the market. 45 homes were available this time last year.

The National Association of Estate Agents research shows that the supply of available housing to buy in the UK has almost halved in the last ten years, which is heavily contributing to the problems first time buyers are finding getting onto the property ladder.

Housing hunters rising

Ten years ago, the average number of house hunters registered to a branch was 302, now 374 people are registered – fighting over a much smaller number of housing. Last year there were 360 potential buyers registered at each branch.

Low supply affected the number of sales in December, as NAEA members reported an average of seven sales per member branch, an expected seasonal dip, and the lowest recorded in 2015.

Negative

Mark Hayward, NAEA Managing Director, said that the outlook wasn’t good for the market.

“Whilst we expect figures for supply and demand to be seasonally low in December, 2015 overall does not paint a positive picture for the housing market. Supply of housing is half of what it was 10 years ago,” said Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.

“Yet the number of home buyers on the books has been gradually increasing. When there is such a huge and widening gap between supply and demand, a level playing field seems further out of reach for many would be house buyers,” he added.

Policies failing?

The report also highlighted the government’s recent efforts to help first time buyers such as Help to Buy, Help to Buy ISA and plans to build new starter homes have yet to take effect. The number of sales to first time buyers dropper over the past 12 months according to the report.

Richard Carr believes the lack of supply issue will continue to cripple the sector for years to come until the government relaxes taxes on developments. If they resist, housing prices will continue to rise and people will struggle to get on the property ladder.