Top locations for choice: a ranking-led analysis of property stock availability across England

• Analysis reveals that Kent, with more than 10,000 homes available for sale is #1 for buyers, followed by Essex and Greater Manchester
• Rutland with just 150 homes available offers the least choice for buyers, followed closely by Durham and Herefordshire
• 59% of homes available are two- and three-bedroom properties, with four-bedroom + properties accounting for just 26% of the market

Latest research from national estate agent, Jackson-Stops, reveals the top locations in England (excluding London) for prospective buyers to focus their house search over the busy spring period.

Top locations for stock availability

The analysis of properties currently available on Rightmove shows that scenic Kent, known as the garden of England, currently offers the highest number of homes on the market, from studios to large 7+-bedroom homes, out of the 46 counties analysed. With 10,112 properties available, accounting for 6.4% of all stock for sale in England’s counties, Kent offers huge variety, followed closely by Essex and Greater Manchester with 9,420 (5.9%) and 7,752 (4.9%) properties respectively.

Alastair Hancock, Director at Jackson-Stops’ Sevenoaks branch comments: “Kent’s reputation as the garden of England has come in to its own, as Britain’s homeowners seek to find homes that offer the perfect balance between amenities, connectivity, and access to nature. With access to vibrant cities, quintessential countryside, and scenic coastline alongside boasting fantastic schools and a rich and vibrant history, it is unsurprising that so many want to live here and that sellers are listing now to capitalise on a buoyant market.

“Our Sevenoaks branch is seeing an average of 20 buyers chasing every home coming to market, so now is an ideal time to consider selling if you need or want to this year.”

At present there are just short of 160,000 homes listed for sale in England1, with 78% of counties currently having fewer than 5,000 listings across the county. A drive for proximity to England’s major cities sees counties such as Essex, Greater Manchester, West Midlands and Merseyside all populate the top 10 counties for most property stock.

Top 5 Counties with most property stock 

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments: “Low stock levels underpinned the property market in 2021 and acted as a contributing factor to unprecedented levels of demand with soaring house prices. Despite fewer homes coming onto the market, the Jackson-Stops network has performed extremely well, securing many of the most noteworthy and coveted sales of the year.

“These themes have continued into 2022, however buyers are now acting with intent and the love affair of owning a home has not abated. Knowing which parts of the country can offer more choice is hugely helpful in informing decision making, particularly for those with a specific budget.

“It’s clear from this data that the majority of properties available are mainly found in the southeast of England, however as post-Covid ways of living and working take hold, the data also shows hot spots centred around England’s major northern cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool – reinforcing the levelling up agenda and demonstrating that today’s sellers are focused all around the country.

“Yet it can’t be ignored that this data reinforces the very real issue of the country’s housing shortage, especially at both ends of lower price bands and larger homes. The SDLT holiday was incredibly effective in supporting the market through a challenging period. Taxation remains one of the biggest barriers facing property buyers and further reform, particularly to support first time buyers and downsizers would encourage greater fluidity across the buying lifecycle.”

Counties with the lowest stock levels

When looking at the counties with the lowest supply of homes on the market, Rutland (150), Durham (315) and Herefordshire (573), sit at the bottom of the table with fewer than 1,000 properties available in each.

Nick Leeming, comments: “Having lived in Rutland for many years, I am not surprised to see our research showing a severe undersupply of homes in this area. It is it the smallest county in the UK and home to just two market towns. The demographic of buyers tends to be families looking for their ‘forever home’ so once someone moves here, they very rarely leave.”

Properties under £125,000

To get the best bang for buck, those seeking to snap up a home in the lowest stamp duty bracket should focus their sights on Lancashire in north-west England. This county makes up 9% of the market in this price bracket with over 1,600 properties on the market. With more than 850 two-bedroom homes, and 362 three-bedroom homes in this price range, the area is ideally priced for cost-conscious buyers, with the added benefit of incurring no stamp duty implications.

However, if a smaller home is needed, buyers should turn their attention one hour south to Merseyside. The county, which is home to investment hotspots such as Liverpool, currently has the highest amount of studios and one-bedroom apartments on the market (745) for less than £125,000.

Properties between £125,000 and £250,000

Greater Manchester sits in the top spot for this price bracket, with almost 3,350 homes currently on the market ranging from studios to 6-bedroom homes. For those seeking a family home, Yorkshire takes the top spot for the most four-bedroom homes on the market (209) in this price bracket.

Two-bedroom properties dominate this price band, accounting for 42% of housing stock listed across the country.

Properties between £250,000 and £450,000*

The end of 2021 saw average house prices tipped further into this price bracket, now sitting at £293,0003. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the £250,000 to £450,000 price band offers the most choice across the English housing market.

Two- or three-bedroom homes make up the majority share of this price bracket, accounting for 70% of homes available for £250,000 to £450,000.

Kent has the monopoly with nearly 4,000 homes listed, accounting for 8% of two- and three-bedroom homes in this price bracket.

Essex takes second place, with 3,354 two- or three-bedroom homes available, with Greater Manchester accounting for 2,623.

However, those looking to maximise on space should look to Lincolnshire, which has the most available 7+ bedroom houses on the market within this price bracket – yet unsurprisingly, this sits at just 24 homes.

Crispin Harris, Director of the Jackson-Stops Alderley Edge branch, comments: “The current market means that for agents, ensuring property coming on to the market is priced correctly is essential. Reassuringly, and despite property prices hitting record highs in 2021, buyers have displayed a willingness to pay the right price for their ideal home but will not pay incredibly inflated pricing.

“A benefit of strong demand is that we are seeing quality homes selling incredibly fast, from project developments to finished houses, and I believe that far more people would consider selling if they were confident they could find somewhere suitable to move to. In practice most vendors we are acting for are finding great houses to move to.

“Whilst they can find it can take a little longer than normal to land the right home in the right area, with sensitive handling buyers are willing to wait for the vendor to secure a purchase rather than go back to the drawing board and commit to a fresh search. With this in mind, we believe that it is very worthwhile seizing the opportunity the current market presents and we hope to see the level of stock in the market strengthen over the coming months.”

Properties between £450,001 and £900,000

Commuter hotspot Kent has the most amount of stock available for asking prices between £450,000 and £900,000, with just shy of 3,200 properties on the market. This is followed by Essex with just over 3,000 and then Surrey with just over 2,000.

The majority of homes in this price band are four-bedroom homes (41%) with Essex boasting nearly 10% of these, making it an ideal hotspot for those looking for a family home.

Unsurprisingly the South-East dominates this price bracket, with the top five counties all located here and accounting for 35% of homes for sale.

Properties between £900,000 and £1.5 million

Essex pips commuter favourite and South-East darling Surrey (465) to the top spot, with 482 homes for sale within this banding. Kent follows in third with 441 homes available.

Somerset, however, emerges as the county with the most choice for those seeking a larger home, with 55 six-bedroom homes listed for sale.

More than half of all counties analysed have less than 100 properties on the market in this price bracket, which shows supply is thin at the top end of the market.

Brian Bishop, Director at Jackson-Stops’ Taunton branch comments: “In Somerset, we continue to see demand from buyers that spill over into locations previously outside of their original search area. The West Country continues to attract buyers, in particular younger families, who are keen to enjoy more nature-based activities and are no longer restrained by solely office working. We also are seeing buyers who have been searching for their perfect property and rising prices have meant extending their search further west.

“At the same time, as buyers have explored more of England’s bucolic countryside due to travel abroad limitations over much of the last two years, we have seen them reconnect with the incredibly beautiful destinations we have across the county here.”

Properties above £1.5 million

Unsurprisingly, Surrey continues to remain in prime position in the £1.5 million plus bracket. Out of the nearly 2,700 properties currently available at this price, more than 344 of these are situated in Surrey. However, only 156 of these properties in Surrey include six or more bedrooms.

Essex takes second position and, with just under 250 properties available, the county makes up 8.8% of the market. 39 of the counties analysed have less than 100 properties on the market for an asking price of more than £1.5 million, with the bottom five counties making up just 1% of available homes in this price bracket.

Alan King, Senior Partner of Jackson-Stop’s Dorking branch comments: “It is unsurprising to see Surrey has the highest number of properties currently within the top end of the market. Now spring is well and truly under way we are seeing a greater level of stock coming to the market, in areas such as Dorking and Reigate and the surrounding villages especially, when compared to this time last year.

“Surrey, however, has always and will continue to be an aspirational county to move to and stay within, particularly in areas such as Dorking, which benefit from good transport links into London in less than an hour as well as first rate schools. There have always been Londoners that have sought out Dorking at certain stages in their lives, but the last two years has brought a new raft of buyers who previously wouldn't have considered country living, and this shows no sign of abating.

“We see a lot of demand for Brockham, Betchworth and Buckland – known locally as the three B’s - which remain eternally popular, along with the villages of Holmbury St Mary, Shere and Coldharbour which offer protected status within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along with proximity to Dorking and Guildford.

“In addition the rural villages of South Nutfield ,Outwood and Bletchingley, east of Reigate and Redhill, are also a popular choice given the ease of access to the main commuting hub at Redhill station which offers regular services to Victoria and London Bridge along with its Thameslink services.”

What size homes are where?

Two-bedroom homes account for 47,299 of the homes currently for sale, with Kent emerging as the area with the most two-bedroom homes on the market, at 3,119.

Of the 46 counties surveyed, 61% have less than a thousand two-bed properties available, and 20% have less than 500.

The most popular price band for two-bedroom homes is £250,000 - £450,000, arguably proving unaffordable for many on average incomes.

Greater Manchester has the most two-bedroom homes for the £125,000 to £250,000 banding, with 1397 available.

Four-bedroom homes account for 28,317 of the homes currently for sale, with Essex emerging as the area with the most four-bedroom homes on the market, at 1,831.

Of the 46 counties analysed, 91% have less than a thousand four-bedroom properties available, and 33% have less than 500. The most popular price band for four-bedroom homes is £450,000 - £900,000. Across England, only 7% of four-bedroom properties are listed for less than £250,000.

Six-bedroom homes account for 2,367 of the properties currently for sale, with Kent emerging as the area with the most six-bedroom homes on the market, at 154.

Of the 46 counties analysed, 91% have less than 100 six-bedroom homes available, with 52% having less than 50.

The most popular price band for six-bedroom homes is £450,000 - £900,000, with Kent, Essex and Lincolnshire having the most six-bedroom properties available in this bracket.

Asking price and property availability data was obtained through Rightmove in March 2022 and analysed by Jackson-Stops.

The data does include plots of land, which are categorised under the ‘studio’ category on Rightmove.

1: 46 counties excluding City of London and Greater London
2: 2nd March 2022
3: ONS