HOMEBUYERS are facing the biggest shortage of properties in six years, according to the latest research.
House prices have continued to rise as demand outstrips supply in the UK property market.
According to research by property platform Zoopla, there was a 40% increase in sales transactions in the 12 months to June compared to the year before.
The number of sales was boosted by the stamp duty holiday, as buyers scrambled to benefit from the tax break.
That means it's slim pickings for would-be movers looking to buy a new home now.
Demand has remained strong – up 20.5% compared to the 2020 average.
But the stock of homes for sale is down 26% on last year and and the figure is expected to remain low well into next year.
First-time buyers have been snapping up homes in 2021 due to higher loan to value mortgages.
Meanwhile, many Brits have reconsidered their living arrangements during the pandemic as home working has become a viable option.
Three and four bedroom houses are the scarcest on the market, reflecting a post-Covid need for more space.
Soaring demand and low supply have pushed house price growth up to 6% compared to this time last year.
This is down slightly from June's growth of 6.3% but an increase from 2.3% in July 2020.
According to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics, UK average house prices reached a record high of £266,000 in June.
Buyer demand means properties are changing hands more quickly – the average time to sell a home has fallen from 49 days to 26 since 2019.
Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said more households will decide to move as office-based workers get confirmation on flexible working rules.
She said: "This means higher levels of demand will still be evident, and potential vendors with family houses to sell could be in pole position.
“However, the lack of supply, especially for family houses, means the market will start to naturally slow during the rest of this year and into next year, as buyers hold on for more stock to become available before making a move."
Marc von Grundherr, director at London estate agent Benham and Reeves, predicted that house prices will continue to rise.
He told The Sun: “The current shortage of housing stock amongst estate agents across the country is now the industry’s biggest talking point.
"With demand still very strong due to the continuing enthusiasm from home buyers awakened by the stamp duty holiday plus, the cheapest mortgage rates we’ve ever seen, this continuing imbalance will only mean one thing – and that’s continuing price rises.
"It’s tempting to advise would be buyers to wait things out until the market settles however the inevitable consequence of doing so, especially for hard-pressed first time buyers, is that it will cost you dearly in higher home values if you do."
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