A lack of confidence in the property market has led asking prices to fall for the first time this year, Rightmove reported today.
Agents stock of unsold homes has hit a four-year high, while the average asking price of homes freshly put up for sale stood at £308,692 in the month to mid-July, according to the property listing website, edging down £656 on the previous month and below the £309,348 recorded a year ago.
But Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said that nervousness over the housing market’s prospects at the moment gives those willing to take the plunge the upper hand. ‘Buyers have a lot in their favour apart from the lack of political certainty’, he said.
Asking prices for newly-listed homes edged down in the month to mid-July, said Rightmove
Property asking prices have climbed substantially over the past five years. Rightmove says
Although homes are coming on to the market amidst the continued slowdown, those put up for sale are ‘taking longer to secure a buyer’, so estate agents now have the most homes available per branch on average for four years, claimed Rightmove.
But with many potential home movers seemingly happy to wait out the current uncertainty, those who choose to act instead could get a decent deal, argued Mr Shipside.
He said: ‘Those who have postponed their purchase should note that estate agency branches have more sellers on their books than at any time for the last four years, so there should be more choice of properties to buy. It could be a good opportunity to negotiate a relative bargain in the second half of the year, if they can set aside the continuing Brexit distractions.’
The property market is a mixed bag across the UK, with asking prices falling by 1.7 per cent annually in London but climbing by 2.5 per cent in the North West
Prices are typically weaker in the second half of the year, and 2019 has seen a substantial rise in homes remaining on the market.
Rightmove reported 53.3 properties were available on average per estate agent branch, a sharp rise from the 44.8 figure at the start of the year.
The snapshot of sentiment in the UK property market showed a mix of moods around the country, however.
The region of the UK to suffer the worst price fall in the month to mid-July was the East Midlands, with a 1.3 per cent drop, although asking prices are up 0.5 per cent annually there.
The top performer was Scotland, where asking prices rose 1.3 per cent over the month, although they are down 0.6 per cent annually.
The biggest annual decline in asking prices continues to be seen in London, at 1.7 per cent, but over the month to mid-July prices asking prices slipped just 0.2 per cent in the capital – in line with the national average and better than a number of the regions.
The average unsold stock of homes per agent has been on the rise and has now reached a four-year high, Rightmove said
The North West, the area that recorded the highest annual increase of 2.5 per cent also recorded a slowdown this last month, matching the national average price fall of -0.2 per cent.
Rightmove’s data suggests that asking prices for typical first-time buyer and second-steppers are holding firm, at £191,368 and £278, 308, respectively, but larger family homes at the top of the ladder are not.
Asking prices for newly-listed top of the ladder homes were down 1.1 per cent over the month and 0.7 per cent annually at an average of £547,719 – £6,000 less than a year ago.
Rightmove’s data suggests that asking prices for typical first-time buyer and second-steppers are holding firmer than those at the top of the market
The average time taken to sell across the UK is longer than a year ago, but substantially down on the recent winter peak
James Chidgey, of broker Mortgage Advice Bureau, said that a slight reduction at this time of year for more expensive larger homes on the market is to be expected.
He said: ‘Vendors with children who are highly motivated to move during the school holidays generally take a more pragmatic view in order to agree a deal within the timescales they need.’
Those looking to trade up the ladder need to be as realistic about the value of their own property as about the one that they want to purchase
Those looking to sell their home in the challenging market need to take the temperature of their area, said Rightmove’s Mr Shipside, with a buyer’s market in the London and the South but sellers more in control in the North.
Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, commented that selling in the current market requires ‘a healthy dose of pragmatism’.
‘Where that has been taken on board, stock has continued to trade’, he added. ‘That presents opportunities for those looking to trade up the ladder, though they need to be as realistic about the value of their own property as about the one that they want to purchase.’
Homes are also selling quicker than they were at the turn of the year in London, where the market also stands even with last July
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