Why Are There So Few Norwich Homes For Sale?

Why Are There So Few Norwich Homes For Sale?
  • 30% drop in the number of properties for sale in Norwich in the last 12 months.


  • 1,290 Norwich homes have sold (STC) in the last three months alone, taking the time from the ‘for sale board’ going up to sale agreed to a median of 25 days.


  • The £200k to £300k price range in Norwich is the most active, where it only takes 19 days to sale agreed, but the £500k to £1m is taking 70 days.


  • Yet what issues cause the people of Norwich to want to move home and what can Norwich people, who want to move in 2022, do to ensure they sell and find the home of their dreams?

There are 853 properties for sale today in Norwich; roll the clock back exactly a year, and the figure was 1,215 – so there’s been a drop of 30%. This drop is being dubbed the ‘for sale board crunch’.


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


I am sure you know people looking for their next Norwich 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 Norwich home buyers are in a state of misery as Norwich 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 Norwich 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 Norwich properties available to rent is at a 15-year low.


So why is the Norwich property market this way?


Demand for Norwich 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 Norwich 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 Norwich property market has been on fire! The lockdown changed what homeowners were looking for in their Norwich 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 Norwich buyers’ wish lists.


Around 36% more Norwich 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 a 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 Norwich property now?


Norwich Apartments – 49 days

Norwich Terraced / Town House – 17 days

Norwich Semi-Detached – 17 days

Norwich Detached – 40 days


This means it is a seller’s market in Norwich, 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 Norwich sellers prefer to find their future Norwich 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 Norwich sellers put their property onto the market whilst they were hunting for their next ‘forever home’.


However, not all Norwich 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 Norwich 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 the Norwich property will sell even before the photographs have been taken of your home.


Yet, many Norwich 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 Norwich homeowners are contacting me to move home yet don’t want to be made homeless. What we 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 Norwich 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 Norwich 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 our estate agency (and other agents if they do this chain building) so you don’t miss out on your next forever home in Norwich.


If you would like a chat about anything mentioned in this article, feel free to drop me a message or call me.


Stats from Land Registry, ZPG, Home, NoMis, Office of National Stats, and Denton House Research


Nick Eley, Partner, Head of Sales & Lettings



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