Affordable homes shortage puts property availability at four-year low

A fall in the number of affordable homes being put up for sale has driven overall property availability in the UK to its lowest level since 2011.

A quarter of a million new properties went on sale between July and September this year, three per cent lower than the same period in 2014.

The number of properties for sale between £100,001 and £250,000 in Central London was down more than half (52 per cent) compared with the same time last year. The Outer Metropolitan region also experienced a significant year-on-year decline (39 per cent) in the number of reasonably-priced homes, with about one thousand fewer properties on the market this year.

Affordability was also a particular issue in the East of England, with a significant decline (18 per cent) in the number of new properties for sale between £100k and £250k. In real terms, this equates to a drop of over two thousand newly-built houses on the market in the last quarter.

In contrast, owners of high-end properties, those valued at more than £500k, have been putting their homes up for sale in growing numbers. Throughout the UK, the number of homes on the market in the £500k-£750k price bracket increased by 10 per cent year-on-year, while houses valued at £750k and over increased by six per cent. In the North West, the difference was even more marked – with an increase of 46 per cent for properties costing more than £750k, and a 25 per cent rise for similar-priced dwellings in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Regionally, the North West saw the largest total number of properties enter the market in Q3 2015, with 33,884 homes for sale, an increase of 12 per cent on Q3 2014. Homes for sale in the Yorkshire and the Humber region increased by four per cent, and those in the North East rose by almost two per cent.

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