The number of homes on the market has fallen to its lowest July figure since records began, estate agents revealed today.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said the number of homes advertised per estate agent branch had fallen to 35 in July, from 30 in June. That's the lowest July figure since the group began tracking the data in 2002.
Meanwhile, the number of people looking for a home fell 10 per cent, to 384 per branch in June to 347 in July. That's the lowest number since 2016, when 344 buyers were registered per branch, said the NAEA.
And the number of homes sold above asking price also fell, with just three per cent of homes selling above the price they were listed at, while the number of homes sold below asking price rose to 80 per cent, the highest number since December 2016.
First-time buyers were among the worst hit, with the proportion of sales made to those climbing the first rung on the property ladder felling to 23 per cent in July, from 30 per cent in June. That's the lowest level since last September.
“It is natural for the market to dip in the summer and then recover," said Mark Hayward, the NAEA's chief executive.
"We usually see a subdued July and August, and then a boom in September with an influx of new properties coming onto the market, it remains to be seen whether this year is typical. We’d also expect to see the number of house hunter increase, as buyers strive to complete sales before the winter kicks in.”
UK house prices struggle
Robert Gardner, the building society's chief economist, said the slowdown was "surprising" given recent strength in the labour market.
However, he added: "The UK economy slowed noticeably in the first half of the year, and there has been little to suggest a significant rebound in the months ahead. While employment growth has remained robust, household budgets are under pressure. This suggests that housing market activity will remain subdued."