High housing demand stopping south east London buyers getting homes

News Shopper: ssistant branch manager at Alan De Maid in Petts Wood, James Kinsella ssistant branch manager at Alan De Maid in Petts Wood, James Kinsella

Buyers are increasingly frustrated by the high levels of demand preventing them from buying their new homes. With house prices soaring, LUKE MAY asks how this demand can be met by a very limited supply.

Housing prices in London and the south-east have have spiked and the number of homes is shrinking, with estate agents saying 40 to 50 people are viewing every property.

Manager of Stanford Estates in Hither Green, James Nicol, described the current situation as "frustrating for buyers".

He said: "Our average is 40 to 50 viewings per property and from those we would expect to get 10 offers. At the end of the day there’s only one buyer."
According to the Office for National Statistics, the annual house price in London increased by 13.2 per cent last year and 7.1 per cent in the south east.

Due to the location, properties in and around Greater London are a sought after commodity by commuters, with many potential buyers losing out due to a lack of supply.

This demand has been increased dramatically by the government's Help to Buy Scheme, which provides buyers on low income with a loan covering up to 20 per cent of the property’s asking price.

Assistant branch manager at Alan De Maid in Petts Wood, James Kinsella, said the scheme has "increased the demand of an already strained supply."

Potential homebuyer Lycette James, age 21, of Avery Hill Road, Eltham, said: "I hope to find a place on the housing market and I think government schemes can help people do that.

"However, it is really hard and high prices make it unattainable, especially for the working class.

"Central London would be my desired location to live in in the future but even the outskirts of London can be expensive."

The increase in house prices has come with new found confidence and trust in the market, that has allowed for many to sell at a profit following the financial crisis.

Speaking on the success of the new sellers market, Mr Nicol told the News Shopper: "We’re taking on more properties now this year than we did this time last year.

"But there’s eight times the amount of people looking to buy."

Mr Nicol also says the increase in prices in south-east London is "a little bit overdue" compared with the rest of London.

Some local authorities have attempted to increase supply by planning new housing developments.

Dartford Council runs a scheme offering empty property owners a 0 per cent home-improvement loan, to help create new homes in the area.

But Mr Kinsella says there is little local councils can do to tackle rising house prices. He said: "I haven’t heard of any local council intervention. I can’t really see what they can do, we live in a free market economy."

Average property prices in south east London and Kent (source: zoopla.co.uk)

Abbey Wood - £230,876

Bexley - £262,848

Blackheath - £538,422

Bromley - £402,982

Chislehurst - £598,884

Crystal Palace - £307,383

Dartford - £241,234

Gravesend - £236,799

Greenwich - £509,856

Longfield - £334,199

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