Western Morning News

Buyers struggling to find homes for sale

- WMN REPORTER wmnnewsdes­k@reachplc.com

THE number of homes up for sale in the South West has plunged by 14% year on year, new figures reveal, helping to fuel rising demand across the region.

London was the only region of Britain to register an increase in the supply of fresh homes coming to market in the first two weeks of 2021, according to analysis.

Across Britain generally, the supply of new properties dipped by 12% compared with early 2020, but in the capital there was a 12% increase,

Zoopla said. Scotland recorded the sharpest fall in new homes coming to the market in early 2021, compared with a year earlier, with a 19% decrease, followed by the North East (down 14% fall), the South West (also a 14% decline) and the South East (a 13% drop), the report said.

On Saturday, the WMN reported a boom in demand for property, partly on the back of the coronaviru­s crisis and three lockdowns which have seen families look for rural homes with gardens and good broadband as work-life priorities have changed during the pandemic.

The current stamp duty holiday – due to end on March 31, 2021 – has also boosted activity among homebuyers as they rush to beat the deadline.

Zoopla said around 55% of sales agreed in January would normally complete by the end of the first quarter, but the proportion this year is likely to be lower. It estimates there is a risk that up to 70,000 sales agreed in 2020 may miss the deadline.

The report also highlighte­d the case of Lauren Joselyn, 34, a PR consultant from Clapham in south London, who is expecting her first baby soon and wants to buy a family home in East or West Sussex.

Ms Joselyn said: “So far, we haven’t had any luck in finding our first family home. There is fierce competitio­n for family-sized homes in our search area. We made an offer on a ‘doerupper’ in the autumn, but were outbid.”

Buyers in Devon and Cornwall report similar challenges, with some of the most desirable properties on sale one day and sold the next, while offers are being made on others before the potential buyers have even carried out a viewing.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said sellers appear to be waiting for coronaviru­s case numbers to fall much further before listing their home.

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