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Property market slowdown continues with longer sales and price corrections

Owain Thomas
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Owain Thomas

The UK’s property market slowdown shows little sign of abating as sales take longer to be agreed and prices continue to fall.

Data from the Home.co.uk’s asking price index revealed vendors in areas undergoing a correction were finding it particularly difficult to sell properties, with London and the South East being hardest hit.

Meanwhile, it said buyers were playing a wait-and-see game as prices slide and homes spend longer on the market.

Separate data from Property Solvers echoed this, noting that 19 of the 20 locations to see the biggest difference between asking prices and sales prices were  in the southeastern regions.

London in particular was witnessing a major house price correction it said, with sellers in South West and North West London accepting asking price drops averaging at £82,721.

Longer on the market

However, in more positive news sellers appear to have returned to the market after having recovered from “Brexit jitters”, the Home.co.uk asking price index indicated

But it added that they were going to have to be very patient and perhaps lower price expectations.

“The slowdown is gradually spreading through the regions and this, coupled with Brexit uncertainty, is hampering home sales,” it said.

“Prices appear to be reaching their peak in several more regions, and price-cutting looks inevitable as properties spend longer and longer on the market.”

According to the index, the typical time on the market for a property in England and Wales is currently 90 days, nine days longer than in June 2018, making it the slowest June since 2013.

The worst time on market slowdowns were in the East of England, up 19 per cent year-on-year, the South West, up 18 per cent, and Greater London and the South East, both up 17 per cent.

This made it the slowest June recording in London for ten years

National average asking prices fell further to drop 0.6 per cent year-on-year.

Asking prices rose again across the country except the East of England and South East where there was no change, and this was “mainly driven by aspiration but not mirrored by demand”.

Three regions in price corrections

Home.co.uk director Doug Shephard noted the London market led the UK property cycle by around three years and that its behaviour was a reasonably reliable indicator as to how things will play out elsewhere.

“To date, four English regions, Scotland and Wales have yet to reach their price peak in the growth part of the cycle while three English regions are already in the price correction phase,” he said.

“It seems most likely that a similar pattern of events that are occurring in London will be repeated sequentially through the regions.”

Realism yet to filter through

The Property Solvers data analysed 89,582 property transactions between June 2018 and June 2019, tracking the average differences between asking prices on Rightmove and their actual sold prices lodged at HM Land Registry.

Of the top 20 locations showing a negative disparity, the only one outside London and the South East was Inverness in Scotland.

The firm suggested this was down to estate agents failing to accurately gauge selling prices in the area.

Property Solvers co-founder Ruban Selvanayagam said: “While it’s logical to expect a bit of wiggle room, its increasingly evident that something is amiss in the marketplace and properties are getting overpriced at the marketing stage.

“Bar Inverness, all of the top 20 largest gaps between asking and selling prices are in Greater London and surroundings.

“This clearly demonstrates that a certain level of realism regarding selling conditions has yet to filter through to the market.

“It’s common knowledge in the industry that estate agents frequently provide prospective home sellers with an over-hyped valuation to win instructions. In many cases, this leads to homes lingering on the market for much longer than they should,” he added.