Imbalance of property types among available stock impacting single buyers

Posted on Friday, June 16, 2023

With the balance of available housing stock currently tipped in favour of 3-bed homes, anyone looking to either upsize or downsize could struggle, with large numbers of single buyers priced out of the market completely. 

New research from eXp UK has found that 3-bedroom homes are the most commonly available properties on Britain’s housing market after analysing current residential property listings for sale across Great Britain and segmenting the available properties by the number of bedrooms they offer to see what size of property is most readily available across the various regions of Britain.

The research shows that of the 686,606 homes currently for sale on the British market, 3-bedroom properties are the most prominent, accounting for 35.1% of all listings, 2-beds account for 28.8% of market stock, while 4-beds make up 17.8%.

When it comes to 1-bed (8.8%), 5+bed (7.2%), and studio (2.3%) homes, scarcity levels increase.

On a regional level, 3-bed homes are the most common across nine of 11 British regions, with the highest regional proportion found in the East Midlands where they account for 43.1% of available stock.

Only London and Scotland go against the grain when it comes to the availability of property and in both regions, it’s 2-beds which are most readily available.

For buyers who are looking for a studio home, their best chance of finding an appropriate property comes in Scotland where they currently account for 4.5% of available listings.

1-bed buyers are advised to search in London where they make up 19.6% of listings, and the capital is also home to the highest regional proportion of 2-bed properties (36.1%). For the best chance of finding a 4-bed home, head to the East of England where they make up 21.1% of the market. And if you’re in need of a home with five beds or more, the South East offers the best level of stock at 8.3%. 

Head of eXp UK, Adam Day, commented:

“3-bed homes are the perfect match for many first-time buyers. They provide a bed for the parents, a bed for the kid, and then a spare room for guests or office use. House builders are aware of this so they make sure to keep the market well-stocked with properties they’re confident will be met by high demand.

"But as a consequence of this, it seems there’s a good chance that homeowners will be trapped at this 3-bed level. For those who need to upsize, 4 beds account for as little as 11% of listings, while 5+ beds seem to be incredibly scarce.

"But also those who want or need to downsize could be facing a tricky challenge with stock levels depleting as homes get smaller. 2-bed availability drops as low as 25% while 1-beds are fast becoming gold dust, making up little more than 3% in some British regions.

"This also creates a difficult environment for single first-time buyers who only need, and can often only afford, a 1-bed home with which to get a foot on the ladder.

"Maybe our national housing market is biased towards those who have coupled-up and sired offspring? But if we want to encourage downsizers, in particular, in order to free up larger homes, we need to have an appropriate level of stock to tempt them with in the first place.”

Via @PropertyReporter