The average number of properties for sale with each estate agent in the UK has fallen to its lowest level for at least two years, according to the latest Rightmove index published today.
The portal says each agent that lists with it on average had 52 properties during February including those under offer or sold STC, down from 61 in August and two fewer than February last year although it’s at least two years since it was this low.
And Rightmove data from previous months suggests the number of months that the traditional winter shortage lasts for is lengthening.
During 2016 the average stock per agent sank from 66 at its peak in July to 53 in December but by March has recovered to 57, a trend which is less obvious this year.
Rightmove says the shortage is largely responsible for a sharp increase in the average UK house price last month, up by 1.3%, a monthly rise that has only been exceeded once since the financial crash of 2007/8.
“Since the start of the decade, the average March price rise has been 0.9%, so this month’s 1.3% uplift is an indicator of a shortage of suitable property for sale in many parts of the country, with strong demand for the right property at the right price,” says Rightmove housing analyst Miles Shipside (pictured).
“Since 2007 we’ve only once seen a larger rise than this in March, and we are also keeping pace with last year’s rise, which had the added momentum of investors looking to beat the Stamp Duty tax deadline of April 1st.”
The price rises are most pronounced in the East and West Midlands where they’re rising by nearly 6% in some areas year on year, the Rightmove House Price Index shows.