Demand from buyers in the UK means 11 chasing each property on estate agent books

A surge in demand from home buyers in the UK means that there are now 11 buyers chasing every property for sale through estate agents, new research shows.

Despite the current low levels of supply being offered through estate agents, the number of prospective buyers is still rising, according to the latest data from national association NAEA Propertymark.

Its latest report shows that the average number of prospective buyers registered per member branch in January was 425, a 10% rise from December 2016 when estate agents registered 386 on average.

Meanwhile, the number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books in January was 38, a decrease from December when 41 properties were available and the lowest recorded since July 2016.

Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark chief executive, said that the increase in house hunters and decrease in properties means there is an average of 11 buyers chasing each property.

The data also shows that in January some 30% of sales were made to first time buyers, a slight decrease from December when 32% of sales were made to the group.

The number of sales agreed per branch increased from six in December to eight last month, returning to the same level seen in November.

Some 7% of properties sold for more than the original asking price in January, the highest amount since April 2016 when 9% were sold for more than their asking price.

‘January saw a surge in buyers but competition is rife with an average of 11 buyers chasing each property. The increase in the number of properties selling for more than asking price in January could be a result of heightened interest and the fact there is simply not enough housing to meet demand,’ Hayward explained.

‘When the Government issued its Housing White Paper at the start of February we stated how important it was for the industry to put forward robust solutions to really make a difference and it’s vital that building more affordable housing is at the very top of their agenda,’ he added.