Figures released by Rightmove in their latest house price index show that asking prices across the UK have dropped to their lowest growth rate in almost four years, with many seeing the fall as a sign that the UK market is stalling heading into 2017.
However, eMoov CEO and property expert Russell Quirk, comments on why this data doesn’t paint the most transparent picture of the UK market, due to a mix of market seasonality and the fact it is based on asking prices not sale completions.
Judging by these latest figures the market seems to have been slow out of the blocks for 2017, but this isn’t the most transparent picture of current conditions for two reasons.
Firstly, the market will be very much finding its feet again with many sellers having abstained for the Christmas period. Thus, any slow down so early in the year is likely to be seasonal with the market getting a second wind heading into Spring.
Secondly, it is important to remember Rightmove’s data is based very much on asking price, not sold price, and gives us just a one month snapshot into one side of the property selling process.
What it does tell us for sure, is that the seller apprehension that remained prevalent throughout the back end of 2016, doesn’t seem to have quite subsided despite the market remaining strong. As a result, UK sellers seem to be adjusting their asking price in order to push through a sale in what they believe to be a weakened market.
Regardless of this trepidation, Rightmove reported a three percent annual increase in traffic levels, which suggests that demand on the other side of the fence remains strong. Not only are these early bird buyers likely to nab themselves a bargain due to the lower asking prices across the market, but this heightened activity will no doubt see this lull reversed when Rightmove release next month’s figures.Russell Quirk