According to figures revealed by Zoopla, the number of homes for sale in March has seen an increase, giving fresh hope to the many UK residents trying to buy property.
Data shows that the average house price has risen by 8.1% in the year to February, prompting some homeowners to put their homes on the market, resulting in an increase of 3.5% of available housing stock in March.
Although it is not a huge rise and looking at past figures reveals that stock levels are down 42% on a five-year average, it is still encouraging to see any rise in the supply of available homes for sale.
For homeowners selling their properties, although the house price rises are beginning to slow down, with the demand so high, they will have no problem finding buyers. The report shows an unseasonal increase, twice the usual rate, of requests for family homes. Buyer demand is 65% higher than the five-year average, meaning more homes for sale are still needed on the market.
Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “It has been a sellers’ market for so long that people expect their home to be snapped up by a ravenous pack of property-starved buyers the second their property particulars are published.”
“But there are signs of a subtle shift that could eventually make it much more difficult to shift your home.”
“The Zoopla figures show that sellers are flocking to the market, with some keen to lock in property price rises while they still can.”
“Meanwhile, although demand remains higher than usual for the time of year, it has fallen since the start of 2022. So, the balance of supply and demand is changing.”
One demographic that will be pleased with the upturn in housing stock will be first-time buyers.
“Another month of rising house prices is great news for current homeowners, and the rise in the number of listings across the country will be music to the ears of first-time buyers and those making their next steps on the ladder alike,” he said.
“Many first-time buyers will be familiar with bidding wars pushing offers well above asking price due to the limited number of properties coming onto the market; with more listings, first-time buyers could see their chances of finding their first home at market price improve.”
But, he said, the increasing prices still presented challenges for new buyers. “Our recent research showed that first-time buyers in cities such as Bath, Oxford, and London would need to borrow more than seven times their salary to buy a typical house in each location,” he said.
“This highlights the challenge for those looking to get on the property ladder in some of the most in-demand urban centres.”
“While some locations are much more affordable for first-time buyers, with those in Hull, Bradford, and Gateshead needing to borrow less than three times the average salary, the wider cost of living crisis could make saving for a deposit more difficult.”