‘We’ve yet to see worst’: Property expert says housing stock will dip even further in 2022

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Housing stock levels hit record lows earlier this week, with the sudden decrease being linked to suspected fears over the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. Cases of the new virus have surged over the last few days, causing the Government to implement “Plan B” measures. The new variant could be deterring prospective sellers from putting their homes on the market.

The UK’s largest property site, Rightmove, has claimed there an average of 14 properties on estate agents’ books – half the level when compared to a year ago.

Jonathan Rolande, from the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB), has predicted that property supply issues will continue to be a problem next year.

He said: “We’ve probably yet to see the worst of things in terms of availability.

“The traditional trend of people logging on to check out houses on Boxing Day is likely to see many house hunters met by a real lack of options.

“It’s likely that Covid will deter some buyers and there will be many more sellers who will not want people visiting their homes.

“It might also encourage tenants to stay put blocking many homes that might otherwise have been sold by landlords keen to exit whilst prices are high.

“This couldn’t have come at a worst time really and everyone in the industry will be hoping and praying that levels begin to rise again soon.”

Rightmove recently reported that housing stock levels hit their lowest level since its records began back in 2004.

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The site’s director of property data, Tim Bannister, said the current “frenzied market” conditions only happen a “few times” in a homeowners’ lifetime.

He explained: “The kind of frenzied market we’ve seen in the last 18 months happens only a few times in most homeowners’ buying and selling lifetimes, exacerbated by the even rarer event of a global pandemic pushing homes higher up most people’s priorities.

“While the pandemic is still having an ever-changing impact on society as we head into the new year, we expect a housing market moving closer to normal during the course of 2022.”

Furthermore, there are signs that housing stock may not increase until later next year.

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Requests from homeowners to estate agents to have homes valued has risen by 19 percent compared to last year which suggests more properties will eventually come to market next year.

The average asking price currently stands at £340,167 – a slight decrease of £2,234 when compared to November.

But asking prices are 6.3 percent higher than a year ago, and Rightmove thinks they could rise by a further five percent next year.

The site believes that a lack of affordability for buyers and a wider choice of properties on the market will take the edge off sellers’ “pricing power”.

The property market has remained buoyant over the last 18 months, largely due to the stamp duty holiday.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the property tax holiday back in July 2020.

The stamp duty holiday meant buyers didn’t have to pay stamp duty land tax on the first £500,000 of any property purchase.

The stamp duty holiday remained in place until June 2021, when the threshold dropped from £500,000 to £250,000.

In October, the threshold returned to the pre-pandemic amount of £125,000.

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