Summer shortage keeps house prices buoyant

David Cameron has vowed to deliver 200,000 new starter homes, which will be sold to first-time buyers under 40 at a discounted rate

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The Independent Online

The extent of Britain’s housing crisis was laid bare today as it emerged that prices in August were at their strongest since the onset of the recession in 2007.

Prices fell just 0.8 per cent in August, less than normal, with a shortage of supply bolstering values, according to property site Rightmove.

The average August price change between 2008 and 2014 was a fall of 1.5 per cent.

New sellers were down 8 per cent on the same month last year.

Sellers were likely to have been deterred by a lack of available homes to buy, the cost of moving and a dearth of affordable housing.

Britain’s housing crisis has seen first-time buyers unable to get on the property ladder due to a lack of homes at the bottom end of the market, and prices have soared in prime areas – such as central London – where demand far outweighs supply.

David Cameron has vowed to deliver 200,000 new starter homes, which will be sold to first-time buyers under 40 at a discounted rate.

The Labour government of 2007 set a target of 240,000 new homes by 2016, but a cocktail of a rigorous recession, tough planning laws and a lack of available land has left the market short and sent prices spiralling.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “While new seller asking prices have been muted by the traditional summer holiday property slowdown, the underlying shortage of property coming to market compared to buyer demand has helped to deliver the strongest August price performance since before the credit crunch.

“Buyers can normally pick up some bargains in August as sellers who are marketing their homes when they should be holidaying often have a pressing need to sell and mark their prices down pretty aggressively. At 0.8 per cent down on the previous month, this is the least generous that sellers have had to be for eight years and a clear sign of upwards price pressure in the pipeline.”

Manning Stainton estate agents in west Yorkshire saw its appraisal numbers up 21 per cent in July as more homeowners considered selling. Director Mark Manning added:  “It’s not that there’s no stock, it’s just that when good property does come on the demand is so high that it’s selling much more quickly than usual. I think the stock crisis will ease as we move into September as people start to think about moving by the end of the year, and the murmuring of an interest rate rise will spur some people into action.”