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Asking prices fall at fastest rate since 2019 as housing market remains subdued

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

Average asking prices fell by 0.4% year-on-year in August to £366,281, data from a property portal has revealed.

Although the decline was small, according to Rightmove’s house price index, this was the largest drop since March 2019. 

On a monthly basis, average asking prices were 0.4% or £1,386 higher than they were in July. Rightmove said asking prices typically rose at this time of year and the average annual increase recorded over the last decade had been 0.6%. 

The firm said some sellers were still being “too optimistic” with their pricing but others were taking the advice of agents and pricing correctly. 

Rightmove said 36.3% of properties up for sale on its website had been reduced in price with an average reduction of 6.2%. The firm said this equated to £22,700 nationally. 

Quieter than usual 

Tim Bannister, director of property science at Rightmove, said: “It’s been a slower than usual August, so all eyes will be on market activity over the next few weeks, which will set the trend for the rest of the year.  

“The combination of 14 consecutive Bank of England interest rate rises and many buyers and sellers still catching up on lost pandemic holidays has contributed to a bigger than expected summer lull, though we still anticipate an autumn bounce.” 

There was a 7% fall on the number of properties for sale when compared to 2019 but there were signs of improvement as a 12% rise in new stock was recorded during the first week of September. 

In August, estate agents had an average of 53 homes on their books. This was flat on the month before. The average length of time to secure a buyer rose from 55 days in July to 57 days in August. 

New listings for the types of homes suitable for first-time buyers increased by 7% and asking prices increased by 0.3% annually to £225,244 in September. 

There were 11% more available properties for second steppers amid a 0.6% decline in average asking prices to £338,300. For those at the top of the ladder, 24% more homes came to market and average asking prices were £666,129. This was a 1.2% yearly fall. 

Buyer enquiries were just 1% lower than in 2019 but agreed sales fell by 18%. 

Price at the right level

Bannister said: “As we enter a key selling season, more people who have been thinking about what they need from a home and where they want to be living next year and beyond, are taking action and coming to market. This has helped to improve buyer choice, especially for those looking for larger homes, which also means that new sellers in the middle and upper sectors need to be extra careful not to set their price expectations too high.  

“Plenty of sales are being agreed for properties that are priced at the right level, and those that are selling are still taking five days less than at this time in 2019. We’re also seeing the number of fall-throughs decline as market conditions and mortgage rates stabilise.”