Supply of homes for sale fell in March, latest agent data shows

The number of houses available to buy hit the lowest level ever recorded for the month of March, despite a month on month rise, the latest estate agent data shows.

An average of 37 properties were available to buy last month, a 9% increase from 34 in February, according to the latest report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

After demand dipped in February, the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch rose by 17% in March, from 252 to 296, a similar level to January, when 297 prospective buyers were recorded per estate agent branch.

Year on year, demand was the lowest level recorded for the month of March since 2013 when 286 house hunters were registered. Housing demand has also fallen by 4% from 308 in March 2018, and 25% from March 2017 when there were 397 prospective buyers registered per branch.

After an increase in the number of sales made to first time buyers in February, this figure fell from 30% to 26% in March, the same level as recorded in March 2018.

The number of sales agreed per member branch remained at seven in March, the same level reported for the previous two months. Year on year, it was down slightly from eight in March 2018.

‘Despite the fact that activity in the housing market increased in March, the levels of supply and demand recorded aren’t where we would expect them to be at this time of year,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA chief executive.

‘It is clear buyers and sellers are still feeling cautious and holding off on making any decisions in light of the current political climate and economic uncertainty. However, recent house price data indicates we might see confidence in the market grow as house prices slowly begin to return to previous levels and we edge closer to the summer months,’ he added.