Buyers face stiff competition

25 Jan 2022

Chart shows shortage of homes for sale

The fortnight in five seconds

  • Lack of property for sale continues
  • Sellers unwilling to risk breaking chains
  • Average age of first-time buyers has risen to 32
  • Register now for our next Movewise webinar

Lack of property for sale continues

Prospective house buyers are facing stiff competition, with a combination of a shortage of property on the market and record levels of demand. Rightmove announced recently that it has seen its busiest ever start to the new year, with buyer enquiries up 15% on the same time in 2021. Our own data analysis confirms that levels of available property are still low (see chart above). Over the past 180 days, the number of homes on the market has fallen from 60,431 to 48,755 – a drop of almost 20%.

Sellers unwilling to risk breaking chains

One knock-on effect of the shortage of stock is that we are seeing more long chains, with all the complications they can bring. Our head of property, Kirsty Burnham, commented: “Whereas sellers in the past have been more than willing to break chains to keep their sale going, they are no longer prepared to risk coming out of the market. I have had two or three chains of 5+ properties where not one of the sellers is willing to take the risk.”

Average age of first-time buyers has risen to 32

Meanwhile, with house prices surging, earnings failing to keep pace and the cost of living on the rise, it is perhaps not surprising that it is taking people longer to get onto the housing ladder. According to the Halifax, the average age of first-time buyers last year was 32, up from 29 a decade ago. The average age is still highest in London, at 33, but the gap between the capital and the rest of the country is closing, in parallel with the diminishing gap in house prices we reported on in our last newsletter.

Movewise news

Register now for our next Movewise webinar

 We are excited to be bringing back our property webinars for the new year. In each session we will look at a different aspect of property sales or the wider market, sharing advice for anyone looking to sell. Our first 2022 webinar will be Selling property hit by the cladding crisis, on Thursday 17 February at 10am. It's a topic we have covered previously, and one which continues to affect our clients.

More than four years on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the scandal of combustible cladding still casts a shadow over the homes of hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. Aside from the obvious safety concerns, many residents now find themselves unable to sell flats in affected buildings.
In this online session, our experts will cover these topics:

  • How do I know if my home is affected by the cladding crisis?
  • Can I still sell an affected home?
  • If I can't sell, what are my options?
  • Who is liable to pay for replacing dangerous cladding?

Interested? Sign up for the webinar now.

if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered to covered in a future newsletter or in one of our web articles, please drop me a line at Or if you want to talk to our property experts, get in touch.

Have a great week!

The Movewise Team

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