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After months of low supply in the UK housing market, the number of listings is finally starting to rise, according to new data from Knight Frank.

Late into the spring market, supply is picking up as economic jitters mount and a belief grows that house prices may be peaking.

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Listings have been low since the end of the stamp duty holiday last September as owners hesitated due to a lack of purchase options. The result was a vicious circle of low supply that led to double-digit house price growth, spurred on by low mortgage rates, savings accumulated during the pandemic and the so-called ‘race for space’.

However, as stock levels increase it is not a uniform process across the country, data from OnTheMarket shows.

There was a 19.2% increase in the number of new listings between January and April this year in England and Wales. However, while there was an increase of only 5.7% in London (the smallest rise), the number of new properties listed for sale in Wales jumped by a third.

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The disparity reflects how supply is building more quickly in rural rather than urban markets.

The 20 local authorities that registered the biggest increase in supply over the period were, on average, classified as 55% urban. For the bottom 20 areas (where supply fell), they were classified as 92% urban on average.

James Cleland, head of the country business at Knight Frank, commented: “I suspect it is a hangover from last year when so many rural owners didn’t list their house as they didn’t think they would be able to find anything to move to. What was a vicious circle is becoming a virtuous circle as higher levels of supply leads to more stock coming on.

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“A stronger sense of seasonality in more rural areas will have contributed to supply rising more quickly in the first few months of the year. It’s also likely that in urban centres like London, sellers are less motivated by concerns over peaking property prices after weaker growth during the pandemic.”

By Rozi Jones

Source: Property Reporter

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