UK cities suffering chronic oversupply of apartments

New build apartments in the UK are empty and unsold because too many have been built, according to a new report.

The over supply is at its worst in northern city centres. In particular Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham are suffering from the problem, according to analysts Jones Lang LaSalle.

Other areas with an oversupply include Cardiff, Bristol, Poole, Ipswich, Bristol and Norwich. 'Two many flats have been speculatively built. These cities are suffering a deep-seated problem with an oversupply of flats,' said Paul McGowan, a Director of the firm's Residential Development Team.

Many more are now unlikely to be built as developers pull out because of lack of money caused by the downturn in the buying market and the rising cost of construction materials.

The team believes that this market saturation is a direct result of Government planning policy over the last 10 years that encouraged high density developments close to town and city centres and transport hubs.

Lower density developments on green field sites were actively discouraged and therefore developers began to look to high-rise, city-centre schemes to achieve their volume targets.

'This has inevitably led to the supply of city-centre flats far outstripping demand in certain areas around the country. Nevertheless some areas will always thrive regardless and to date London has had sufficient demand for apartments for oversupply to be avoided,' McGowan added.

One area to watch is Stratford in East London with 4,000 flats reportedly coming to the market after the 2012 Olympics, he said.