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Top-end house buyers thwarted by lack of supply

The period between the beginning of April and mid-May, usually the time when buying is at its most intense, has not seen the expected number of properties coming on the market, thereby limiting the choice for registered buyers keen to acquire and making the work of buying agents particularly demanding.

Jonathan Bramwell, head of Country at Prime Purchase said: "There are opportunities for buyers, but these have been limited by the lack of good houses and estates available.

"The number of country properties being advertised for sale is down by some 50% on last year and this has resulted in the very best properties getting the viewings and offers.

"As a result some useful benchmarks have been set on values especially in the Cotswolds, where some deals have recently been done and in some cases gazumping has returned to the market. Houses which would have been £3million last year are now selling for £2.5million but premiums are still being achieved as there are still motivated buyers who want to get on with their lives.

"In the estates market, where reasons for sale can be different, prices seem to be more realistic."

In the prime London market, Nathalie Hirst and Guy Meacock of Prime Purchase said lack of supply was matched by demand from euro and dollar investors causing some levelling off on prices from the downward spiral of the last 12 months.

"Lack of stock caused by potential vendors holding back has meant with have had to appraise properties very carefully taking a long hard look at what is available," they said.

"The main factors will be the health of the UK economy and the strength of the pound. If these begin to strengthen then the euro and dollar investors who have recently helped support prices in the key £1million to £3million market will begin to disappear and prices could move downwards again."

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