Why Are There So Few Leeds Homes For Sale?

There are 1,420 properties for sale today in Leeds; roll the clock back exactly a year, and the figure was 1,883 - there’s been a drop of 25%. This drop is being dubbed ‘for sale board crunch’.

The ‘for sale board crunch’ has left many prospective Leeds home buyers stressing to find the right Leeds property as the number of properties available to buy has dropped significantly.

I am sure you know people looking for their next Leeds home, but when they see it on the portals (Rightmove, Zoopla, Boomin, OnTheMarket etc.) the properties are gone within days.

With demand at an all-time high, many Leeds home buyers are in a state of misery as Leeds house prices have grown in the last few years, forcing many of them to review their plans.

They are victims of the ‘for sale board crunch’ in the Leeds property market, the likes of which have not been seen since 2007.

Normally when there has been excess demand in the residential sales market, that frothiness has been taken care of by people moving into rented accommodation. However, the number of Leeds properties available to rent is at a 15-year low.

So why is the Leeds property market this way?

Demand for Leeds homes has exceeded the number of properties for sale since the General Election in December 2019. After years of long drawn out Brexit negotiations, homeowners and buyers were more confident about their move. Many Leeds people who put their home move on hold in 2018/19 had more confidence to return to the market.

The first lockdown in the spring of 2020 did nothing to quell this pent-up urge, and since the late spring of 2020, the Leeds property market has been on fire! The lockdown changed what homeowners are looking for in their Leeds home. Proximity to public transport dropped down the wish list for buyers, and demand for apartments dropped. Whilst properties with larger gardens and rooms that could double up as home offices tended to be at the top of most Leeds buyers' wish lists.

Around 36% more Leeds properties have sold in the last 18 months than the long-term 20-year average.

Looking at the supply side of the equation, in the last five years, an average of 204,410 new homes per year have been added to the number of properties available in the UK. Also, 239,600 properties came back into the market when they became available after their owners had sadly passed away. Yet still, that isn't enough. The country needs at least 300,000 new dwellings to keep pace with demand.

There is also another problem that has come to light with the cladding issue of apartments. Just over three-quarters of million apartments have issues with cladding. Whilst these are being sorted out (which will take many years), they are essentially unsaleable unless a fire safety expert on these buildings signs them as safe.

These cladding issues prevent these apartments from coming onto the market (thus reducing the supply of properties to buy). It also precludes their owners from moving up the property ladder from their apartment to a house. Also, many first-time buyers who can save a bigger deposit or be gifted cash from the Bank of Mum and Dad are skipping the apartment as their first home and going straight for a house, thus intensifying the lack of larger properties for sale.

So, how long does it take to sell a Leeds property now?

Leeds Apartments – 56days

Leeds Terraced/Town House – 20 days

Leeds Semi-Detached – 19 days

Leeds Detached – 34 days

This means it is a seller’s market in Leeds, empowering them to push up their asking prices in high demand areas. However, most sellers are also buyers, which means the advantage they have on selling their property is turned on its head when they come to buy.

Many Leeds sellers prefer to find their future Leeds home before putting their current home on the market. That is making the lack of properties on the market seem even harsher than it may otherwise be.

The ‘for sale board crunch’ would be somewhat eased if Leeds sellers put their property onto the market whilst they were hunting for their next ‘forever home’.

However, not all Leeds homeowners are doing so, partially because they (wrongly) believe they will be made homeless if they find a buyer and can’t find another property to buy (remember, you are not legally committed to moving until exchange of contracts).

A big issue will be finding a suitable Leeds home. We very much have a chicken and egg scenario. Some homeowners are waiting for the right property to come onto the market before they put their home on the market. This will probably mean that that Leeds property will sell even before the photographs have been taken of your home.

Yet, many Leeds homeowners are worried if they put their house on the market and it sells, they won’t be able to find another suitable home and thus be homeless.

Classic chicken and egg – so what do you do first?

There is another way of doing this. It's a technique estate agents used to use before the internet, and it's called 'chain building'. Many Leeds homeowners contact agents wanting to move home yet don't want to be made homeless. What the agents do is slowly build a group of people in a chain over many months. It requires a lot of patience to build a chain downwards and upwards around you.

There is no cost to this and no legal commitment to go through. It can take six, even twelve months to build a chain of people who are prepared to wait for the chain to form.

Yet, everyone normally gets their next 'forever home'by playing this long game.

Because if you don’t play the long game, build relationships with Leeds estate agents (who can build these chains) and only rely on waiting for properties to appear on Rightmove, Boomin, OnTheMarket or Zoopla, you will be sorely disappointed.

According to national research from Denton House Research, 7 out of 8 people who viewed a house through an estate agent in 2021 were not on the mailing list of that agent before they viewed it.

That means all these Leeds properties, built on a chain builder (as above), will sell yet won't appear on Rightmove or Zoopla, meaning you will miss out.

You must get yourself on the mailing list of estate agents if they do this chain buildin) so you don’t miss out on your next forever home in Leeds.

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