Number of homes for sale has dropped by a third since recession

House prices also fell in the last three months

The number of properties for sale in the UK housing market has dropped by 38 per cent since the start of the recession, according to a new report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

It recorded an average of 62 properties available for sale per branch during September, an increase from 60 in August 2012, but well below the average 100 per branch in December 2008.

Mark Hayward, President of the NAEA said: “This comparison shows the true extent of the drop in the levels of available housing since the economic downturn took hold. A combination of increased seller caution and a seizing up of activity within the house building sector has led to a significant reduction in the number of homes on offer for would-be house buyers.

“While it’s important that house hunters have access to funding and mortgage finance, a more meaningful commitment to delivering higher volumes of new homes is required to get the market moving again."

Meanwhile, house prices between August and October were 1.2 per cent lower than in the previous three months according to the latest figures from Halifax, the fifth successive decline.

Halifax's figures also show a continuing modest rise in mortgage approvals for the third successive month. Approvals increased by 4 per cent to 50,000 in September, but were still 2 per cent lower than in September 2011.