U.K. Estate Agents Plead for More Supply as Housing Boom Rages

U.K. house prices marched higher again in April as rising demand and a dearth of properties for sale added fuel to a booming market.

In a report published Thursday, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said a lack of new listings was now the biggest concern as demand for property increased in every region of the country. That’s stoking prices in a market already buoyed by a temporary tax cut and lockdown-inspired searches for extra space. Real-estate agents expect prices to keep rising over the next year.

“Housing supply, or more pertinently, the shortfall in supply relative to demand is the key theme coming through loud and clear,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS. On average, agents now have just 40 properties for sale on their books.

The findings come amid a brightening economic outlook and suggest prices will continue to rise once Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s stamp-duty holiday on purchases is gradually withdrawn from the end of June. Nationwide Building Society said last month that house prices rose 2.1% in April, their fastest monthly pace for 17 years.

Here’s a roundup of comments made by agents in the RICS survey:

John Andrews -- Doolittle & Dalley LLP in Kidderminster

“A very active market with more property for sale and buyers chasing as soon as property becomes available. All still trying to beat stamp duty deadline.”

David Boyden -- Boydens in Colchester

“Very buoyant and the market is overheating, desperately need new instructions to satisfy relocating applicants.”

Jeremy Leaf -- Jeremy Leaf & Co in London:

“Extension of the stamp-duty holiday and faster roll-out of the vaccine is boosting demand and underpinning prices especially as supply – though improving – is failing to keep up.”

Joshua Homans -- Pinnacle Surveyors in London

“A new phenomenon is in play within big cities. The flight to suburbs and must have outside space wherever it is. Cities are most impacted by the restrictions still in place. Better to open the economy and not commit further economic damage.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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