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New property listings show October fall

New property listings are down across the UK, according to the latest figures published by online estate agent Housesimple.

The Property Supply Index, which collates the number of properties coming onto the market listed by estate agents in 100 UK towns and cities each month, showed that new property listings fell by 5.5% nationally in October. In London that figure was at 6.8%.

The number of new properties listed in October was 68,598, down from September’s figure of 72,593. That is 2.6% up on the same time last year, but supply of properties was down in 59.7% of the towns and cities surveyed this month.

‘Hardly a collapse’

“This can hardly be considered a collapse, but stock levels have been bouncing along at the bottom of the barrel for some time now, and no-one seems to know how to boost supply,” commented Sam Mitchell, Housesimple CEO.

“Building new homes will help in the longer term, and the government has set lofty house building targets, but we need more available stock now, not in three to five years.

The Chancellor could have helped stimulate the market in his latest Budget by cutting stamp duty for older downsizers, to boost stock at the top end of the market, but he chose instead to hit landlords.”

King’s Lynn in Norfolk showed the largest rise in new properties being listed in October compared to September at 45.3%, with Lichfield in the West Midlands second in the list on 38.6% St Helens and Salford showed the sharpest drops in supply outside of London, with 33.8% and 28% respectively.

In the capital, only five boroughs reported rises in supply, with Barnet leading the way with 10.1% more on the market in October versus September. Richmond upon Thames showed the biggest drop in London, with a figure of 19.8%.

Homeowners play wait-and-see

The uncertain economic and political outlook is playing its part in the results, according to Mr Mitchell, who adds: “The immediate issue is that a combination of interest rate rises, Brexit fears, and a barrage of negative news surrounding house prices, has spooked homeowners.

“With house prices falling in a number of areas, most notably London and the South East, homeowners are choosing to wait and see what happens next before making the decision to move. And for many families who are being squeezed financially, while they might have equity in their homes, they may not have the liquid funds to cover buying and moving costs such as stamp duty and solicitor fees.”

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