The asking prices of homes put up for sale in September have fallen for the first time since 2010, new data has revealed.
Despite September usually marking the start of the autumn bounce in housing market activity, the average newly-listed property asking price has dipped by 0.2 per cent this month, according to Rightmove.
But it said that home buyers were being presented with a good opportunity to purchase a home, while sellers’ expectations were lower – with many properties already keenly priced.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: ‘Those who are planning to buy or trade up and can keep their nerve whilst others hesitate may find that they are in a stronger negotiating position to get a favourable deal.’
Change: Property prices have increased by 3.5% in the North West but fallen by 2.1% in London
The UK’s biggest property listing website also said that the number of agreed sales was down by an average of 5.5 per cent in all regions across the UK when compared to a year ago, marking a drastic change from the 6.1 per cent increase in sales agreed reported last month.
This indicates that Brexit-induced hesitation is spreading across all of the nation, having been restricted to the South East.
Although the underlying housing market fundamentals remain sound, Brexit and wider political uncertainty has become heightened recently.
Shipside said: ‘Many have got used to living in the jaws of uncertainty since the referendum over three years ago, and have been getting on with their lives and housing moves.
‘However, as we approach yet another Brexit deadline, there are signs that the increasing gnashing of teeth is causing some to hesitate.
‘The autumn bounce normally kicks off at the same time as kids go back to school, but this year it’s a late starter at best, and if uncertainty persists then the autumn term could be missed altogether and its activities be delayed until the new year.
Rightmove found the amount of newly marketed properties is down by 7.8 per cent this month when compared to the same period a year ago, again with all regions down on the previous year.
It is likely this is influenced by what is happening in London, where there is a drop of over 20 per cent in new properties coming to market as many owners await a Brexit outcome and market recovery.
Increase: The asking price for properties across the UK has risen over the last five years
Down: Monthly asking price trends show there has been a dip since June of this year
Shipside added: ‘All regions are down on their numbers for both sales agreed and properties coming to market. Some regions are just marginally behind the previous year, but they are all seeing less activity in these two key metrics, showing that hesitation is now more widespread rather than being localised to just some parts.
‘However, some of that will be due to difficulty in finding the right property to buy, as activity still remains brisk in some locations, evidenced by continuing upwards pricing pressure in some parts of Great Britain.
‘Uncertainty is clearly not just about the political situation, with finding the right property to buy being a bigger worry for many.’
The annual rate of price increase has also dropped to just 0.2 per cent – whilst this has been buoyed by property prices in the North, it has been dragged down by some areas in the South.
London now has properties coming to market at an average of 2.1 per cent cheaper than a year ago whilst the South East region has also seen a drop in prices of 1.1 per cent.
Monthly asking prices are down across the nation but up when compared to last years figures
Average time to secure a buyer in London has risen since July 2019 but is down from a year ago
However, all other regions have higher new seller asking prices when compared to a year ago, with the North West reporting the biggest change with a 3.5 per cent increase.
Shipside added: ‘There’s obviously some year-on-year bounce occurring in prices in the North West, and also in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales, which all have new sellers asking at least three per cent more than at this time last year.
‘Buyer affordability and investor activity create and maintain market momentum, but these factors are lacking in parts of the south.’
The report also found there are less property owners putting their property on the market at present, probably due to the increased Brexit uncertainty as well as the lack of suitable property options for them to buy.
Average stock per estate agent is up from a year ago but down from last months data
Shipside added: ‘In August we reported a pre-Brexit buying spree with the number of sales agreed up by over six per cent compared to the prior year, as buyers and sellers decided to get deals secured well before the next Brexit deadline.
‘A month later, as the deadline gets closer and tensions heighten, there has been a big swing the other way with sales agreed numbers now over 5 per cent below those of a year ago.
‘Buying activity is still at nearly 95 per cent of what it was a year ago, but sellers in all regions are seeing fewer sales go through, so should be more willing to negotiate with prospective buyers if they want or need to get a deal done.’