December was a quiet month in the property market, with less than 35,000 new properties listed across the UK, according to research conducted by HouseSimple.com.
Ten UK towns saw the number of people marketing their properties in December drop by 50% as new stock levels fell by a third compared to November. In comparison, June, the month of the General Election, saw 44,267 new properties listed – the second lowest monthly supply level in 2017.
HouseSimple.com analysed the number of new properties marketed by estate agents across 100 major UK towns and cities last month. Only five locations – including Torquay, Newport and Worthing – experienced a rise in home sellers in December. Meanwhile, Newquay (63.8%), St Helens (63.8%) and West Bromwich (61.1%) were part of the 10 towns/cities that saw a 50% fall in property supply.
“The property market needs a sizable bounce in January after 2017 ended with a whimper,” said Alex Gosling, founder of HouseSimple.com. “It was a tough year with Article 50 and the General Election to contend with and there were already signs in November that sellers had decided to hold fire until the New Year. December confirmed that assertion, with new listings tumbling last month.”
He continued: “Historically, we do tend to see an uplift in activity this January, and with the stamp duty cut incentivising first-time buyers to purchase, this will hopefully act as a stimulus to sellers who have been reluctant to market.”
Fewer than 14,000 people put their properties on the market in December across the capital, the lowest number of people putting their homes on the market than in any month last year. In fact, new listings fell 39.1% last month compared to November, while every London borough saw fewer sellers for the second month running.
Gosling predicts that 2018 will be another challenging year for the property market as Brexit draws closer. “House price growth is predicted to flat or at best low single digits, but that should provide encouragement to buyers who have had to battle against rising prices for a number of years,” he said.
“For sellers, it’s the same message,” he added. “There is no point in delaying putting your property on the market if you need or want to move. There are still plenty of buyers out there, and if you’re committed you will sell.”