Record Housing Supply Keeps Prices Steady.


The UK housing market currently boasts a record-breaking £230bn ($293bn) worth of homes, the highest supply in eight years, which is expected to stabilise house prices for the remainder of 2024.


The number of homes available for sale has surged by 20% compared to last year, equating to an additional £45bn. According to Zoopla, the typical estate agent is now managing 31 homes, the largest inventory seen in eight years.


Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, explained, “The growth in the supply of homes for sale is evidence of renewed confidence amongst homeowners, some of whom delayed moving decisions in 2023. The quarterly rate of house price inflation has picked up in recent months as more sales are agreed and prices firm.”


Sales agreements have risen by 13% year on year.


While many homes are newly listed, about 31% were on the market in 2023. This increase in supply is largely due to a rebound in the availability of three and four-bedroom homes as current owners feel more confident about moving, despite previously high mortgage rates dampening demand.


The upcoming general election in early July is not expected to disrupt the property market.


Currently, 392,000 homes are in the sales pipeline, anticipated to be completed over the course of 2024.


Zoopla suggests that the election is unlikely to cause a significant increase in transaction fall-throughs, given the minimal policy differences between the main political parties.


Donnell further commented, “The announcement of the election will slow the pace at which new sales are agreed while greater choice for buyers will keep house prices in check over 2024. It’s essential that those serious about moving in 2024 price their homes realistically if they want to achieve a sale.”


Guy Gittins, chief executive of Foxtons, shares a similar outlook, stating, “Despite last week’s announcement of a general election, we’ve not seen a dampening of sentiment from buyers and sellers; in fact, last week we saw more sales agreed than we have done at any point during the same period in the past six years.”


He added, “The prospect of a change in government hasn’t deterred new buyers from entering the market either. Last week, we also had a record number of new applicant enquiries compared with the past five years. As buyers and sellers await the next interest rate decision, they should take some confidence from the fact that homeowners and prospective buyers are acting with confidence, despite the uncertainty of the election ahead.”


However, the pace at which sales are agreed is likely to decelerate in the coming weeks, potentially reducing the total number of sales in 2024 to below 1.1 million.


House prices are experiencing regional variations.


In the south of England, coastal cities, and areas where prices surged during the pandemic’s race for space’, prices are now declining due to weaker demand.


Conversely, cities with below-average house prices are seeing increases, as the impact of higher mortgage rates is less severe in these areas.

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