According to property portal Rightmove, the average asking price for UK sellers has dipped 1.2% as we head into the traditionally busy Autumn period. This is the first time Rightmove have observed such seasonal movement since 2013, which has largely been driven by a -2.9% monthly drop in prices in the capital.
London’s high-end boroughs have seen some of the largest drops, with the average asking price dropping in five out of six of the capital’s most wealthy boroughs where property is concerned.
As we enter the Autumn selling season it is usual to see estate agents advising new-to-the-market sellers to push up their asking prices. But this year all four southern regions have seen new sellers on average asking less than those of a month ago, reducing the national rate of increase.Miles Shipside
But while this news may seem like bad news for UK sellers, other industry indices have reported healthy growth in the price being paid by UK buyers.
The Land Registry and Halifax both reported upward price growth coming out of the traditionally slower summer period which is extremely positive news given the level of uncertainty that has impacted the market over the last year.
While the average asking price is dropping, Rightmove also reported that the number of sales agreed is higher than this time last year in all UK regions – up 4.8%. So buyer demand is evidently present and UK homeowners should rest assured that the market remains in good health.
The likely explanation behind Rightmove’s data is that agents, particularly those in the high-street sector, are pricing in line with the market and not at a higher valuation in order to win business from competitors. While this more transparent approach to the current market conditions is seeing the average asking price drop, it is ensuring that the market remains ticking over as it emerges from a period of slower growth seen over the last six months.
On the contrary to what Rightmove may be reporting, we’ve already seen signs of a bounce back in house prices during the back end of the summer months. As this index is based on asking prices and not data on completed sales, it is important to take it with a pinch of salt where the strength of the market is concerned and not be drawn into any scaremongering.
We are heading into one of the busiest times of year for the UK property market and whilst traditionally many agents may have encouraged sellers to over price to get them on the books, the slower market over the last year has probably put a halt to this. I think many sellers are also realising this and listing their property at a more realistic price from the off, rather than see little interest and have to adjust further down the line.Russell Quirk