Top of the Stocks: Where the number of homes for sale are doubling across the country

Top of the Stocks: Where the number of homes for sale are doubling across the country

  • The average volume of properties in England listed for sale month-on-month rose by 58% in 2023 compared to 2022
  • The Isle of Wight (83%), Norfolk (78%) and Somerset (75%) saw the biggest increases in property listings on an annual basis
  • “We are at last observing a rebalancing of supply and demand” - Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops
  • Jackson-Stops’ own branch data also highlights regional hotspots: Chelmsford saw a 79% increase in the number of listings, closely followed by Sevenoaks (70%) and Chester (54%)

The average volume of UK properties listed for sale month-on-month rose by 58% in 2023 compared to a year previously, underscoring the rebalancing of supply and demand.

According to new analysis by leading national estate agency Jackson-Stops, the Isle of Wight was the front runner of this trend, seeing an 83% increase of homes on the market in one year alone, closely followed by Norfolk (78%), Somerset (75%) and Shropshire (75%) [table1].

Jackson-Stops, who analysed average volumes of new listings on Rightmove’s website from 2022 to 2023, say the figures are representative of market resilience.

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments, “We are at last observing a rebalancing of supply and demand in out of market hotspots, as the influx of available properties bridges the demand gap and underscores commitment from movers to make big life changes. A boost in volume gives sellers the reassurance that there are good houses to move on to, one of the main barriers for house hunters in 2022 due to chronic lack of supply.

“With the probable reduction in interest rates as inflation cools, the current market not only favours sellers but also benefits potential buyers, particularly with fixed-rate products improving and a higher rate of mortgage approvals.” The top three counties for new property listing volumes are all waterside locations, and typical destinations for downsizers. Nick explains, “The Isle of Wight, Norfolk and Somerset all have waterside markets that absolutely thrived during the post-lockdown ‘race for space’ as buyers sought their country idyll, leading to a sustained shortage of supply. As sellers in these locations are on the rise, it is likely downsizers looking for their last-time buyer homes are heavily impacting market trends, as well as those ready to switch back to urban life, steadying the pendulum of supply to align with demand for properties in these areas. Whilst this may take the heat out of some further flung locations, the South East and London markets are likely to see demand only increase.”

Spring Bounce
In Jackson-Stops’ analysis of national seller trends, it was the second quarter of 2023 that saw the greatest increase in listings on an annual basis, with a 91% rise in the number of properties coming onto the market [table 2].

In part this can be attributed to the tail end of the seasonal spring bounce, as well as being buoyed by a series of Bank Holidays in May to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.

Latest insight from across the Jackson-Stops network revealed in the final quarter of 2023, buyers outnumbered sellers on average by 8:1. This has changed from 7:1 from the second quarter of 2023, showing less buyers per sellers but a healthier ratio balance as more stock enters the market. Nick continues, “After a frenzied start to the decade for the housing market, where heightened competition and pent-up demand resulted in significant house price growth, the proof that greater stock is entering the market will help to create a more balanced housing market moving forward.

“Across the Jackson-Stops network, we are seeing an uptick in new properties being listed, bubbling in key hotspots such as Norfolk, Cornwall and Northampton. While this isn’t being driven by one reason in particular, lifestyle changes, downsizing, or seeking a change of pace, are all popular reasons we are hearing from sellers. It’s positive to see sellers adopting a pragmatic approach after an extended period when many were waiting to see what mortgage rates would do, encouraged by a steadier economic picture. “While buyer preferences may change from open plan living to more separate spaces to accommodate home working, gyms and playrooms, popular property styles such as Georgian and Victorian homes always endure.”

Regional hotspots
Whilst nationally, Norfolk was the county to have seen the second highest increase in sellers in 2023 according to Jackson-Stops’ analysis of Rightmove listings, it was Chelmsford that came out ‘top of the stocks’ for new listings according to its internal branch data.

Across the Jackson-Stops network, in 2023 Chelmsford in Essex saw a 79% increase in the number of listings, closely followed by Sevenoaks (70%) and Chester (54%) [table 3]. 

David Lambert, Director of Jackson-Stops Burnham Market on Norfolk: “The property market in Norfolk has remained buoyant, now reflecting a steady stream of listings, finally levelling with the demand for those seeking a taste of Norfolk living. The region has a great deal to offer with the city of Norwich voted one of the best places to live in the UK and the picturesque coastline providing residents with access to stunning beaches, coastal walks, sailing, and birdwatching. The extensive Norfolk Broads also offers access to one of the largest nationally protected wetlands.

“It is no surprise that we have a number of prospective buyers looking to relocate to the county. It appeals to a range of different buyers from young professionals to growing families, and retirees seeking a slower pace of life. It is truly no wonder that people are turning their attention to the east coast which can provide a peaceful retreat from bustling city life.”

Jamie Stephenson, Director of Jackson-Stops Chelmsford, comments: “We’ve experienced a notable uptick in seller activity over the past year, driven by a dynamic mix of factors influencing both upsizing and downsizing trends. For instance, there has been a rise in downsizers choosing to relocate further West towards the Essex coast, whilst Chelmsford remains a magnet for families, contributing to the heightened demand for housing in the area.

“Similar to other out of city hotspots, Chelmsford is a triple threat of top-notch schooling, convenient access to London, and ample green spaces. The surrounding villages offer excellent schools, many of which boast 'good' or 'outstanding' ratings, including renowned institutions like Chelmsford County High for Girls and King Edward VI Grammar. And for those who prioritise a flexible commute, frequent train services connect Chelmsford to London Liverpool Street station in just 34 minutes, while rail links offer easy access to Stansted and Southend Airports. It is these star commuter cities that have enduring appeal.”