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House prices down £10,000 since October

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Asking prices of homes coming to the market have dropped by 3.2% since October, marking the biggest fall over two months in six years.

Values are now typically £10,000 lower than in October, according to Rightmove.

The property site said sellers were trying to attract buyers despite a combination of the usual Christmas slowdown, stretched affordability and political uncertainty.

Discounting appears to be winning over some bargain hunters, with the number of sales agreed down by 2.1% compared to the same period a year ago.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst said: It’s usual for new-to-the-market sellers to price lower in the run-up to Christmas to tempt distracted buyers, so we should not read too much into the mere fact of two consecutive monthly falls.

However, these falls have been larger than usual, making this the largest fall over two months for six years, showing that there are more than just seasonal forces at play.

“With stretched affordability limiting some people’s ability to buy for the first time or trade up, a modest lowering of property prices combined with an increase in wage growth could help more of them to move and thus increase transaction numbers.”

North up, South down

London asking prices are down 1.1% compared to a year ago, and by 0.9% and 0.7% in the South East and the East of England respectively.

On the other hand, prices have grown by 6.2% in Wales, while the East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber have seen increases of between 4% and 5%.

Shipside added: “We forecast that 2019 will see a similar pattern with the North still broadly out-performing the South, though our prediction for the year ahead is slightly more muted with the overall national average flat at 0%.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of agency Jackson-Stops, said: “The 2019 property market is likely to get off to quite a slow start while the UK awaits clarity on Brexit negotiations.

“However, despite the market not being as buoyant as it was a few years ago, accurately priced homes will still sell so it is interesting to see signs of vendors starting to recognise this in Rightmove’s latest data.

“Over the last year there has generally been a mismatch between vendor expectations and the price that buyers are prepared to pay, particularly at the top end of the market, so properties launching now at a competitive value will stand out and attract buyers’ interest.”

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