The number of properties for sale in England and Wales has dropped to a record low – just 386,000 homes are on the market at present, 47% fewer than in 2008.
This figure arrives from property search engine Home, which found that while new supply rose slightly, more homes came off the market than came onto it.
Home collects data from almost every estate agent website and property portal in the UK.
It adds that the shortage of supply has driven the average asking price up to £287,891 this month, an 8.2% increase on January last year.
Home also found that the average asking price in England and Wales is up 0.3% on December’s figure – the highest growth rate recorded for January since the start of the financial crisis and in contrast to traditional seasonal trends.
The average amount of time a property is on the market is now 117 days.
The Director of Home, Doug Shepherd, believes that the trends of price growth above the rate of inflation and a constant reduction in the supply of property for sale are likely to continue throughout this year.
He says: “Given such high levels of interest in property investment by both large and small investors alike, it is difficult to imagine prices going anywhere but up in 2016. Moreover, interest rates – another key market driver – remain at historic lows and this does not look set to change anytime soon.
“First time and next time buyers are finding it nearly impossible to compete with the buy-to-let sector, and renters look set to endure a wave of rent rises over the next couple of years.
“The ultra-low interest rate environment is allowing the gap between earnings and house prices to widen to historically dangerous levels (mainly in the south and east).”
He adds: “This is clearly one of several unsustainable trends in the current booming market.”1