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Average asking price drops 1.2% in September

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The usual autumn price bounce has so far failed to materialise, with a fall in the average price of a property coming to market of 1.2% or £3,660, an index reveals.

The Rightmove House Price Index data from mid-August to mid-September showed this was the first fall at this time of year since 2013, taking the average national asking price to £310,000.

However, the national fall was exacerbated by a large 2.9% drop in London, with smaller falls in all other southern regions. The national monthly drop when removing London would be just 0.5%.

The London drop is being driven by its continued readjustment, particularly in the higher-end boroughs, with falls in five out of the six most expensive boroughs this month.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “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.

“There were autumn price bounces nationally in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but the south of the country has turned this month into a bit of a damp squib, while some northern regions are still showing marginal signs of upwards price pressure. Estate agents are clearly advising many sellers that they have to lower their price expectations to fit in with buyers’ stretched financial resources, with that price compromise hopefully generating extra buyer interest,” he added.

Holiday hangover

Brian Murphy, head of lending for the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the data provides analysis on asking prices, rather than completed transactions, giving insight into market sentiment and behaviour.

“We can see that London is distorting the headline figure, as without taking into account the correction on asking prices in the capital, we can see that asking prices have actually declined by a marginal 0.5% month-on-month for the rest of the country, which in itself is likely to be the result of a holiday hangover with the market not yet having picked up post the summer hiatus.”

“As with last month, it’s very normal to see estate agents recommend to their clients that they price competitively over the holiday period, so the headline result of a slight month-on-month decrease, excluding London, is quite normal, with no cause for concern and is absolutely in line with seasonal expectations. We can also see that overall year-on-year asking prices are still seeing positive growth, albeit at a subdued pace.”

Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of eMoov, added: “We are heading into one of the busiest times of year for the UK property market and while 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.”

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