Homeowners cut house prices in run up to Christmas

New research out today Thursday 4th November from the leading property search website Zoopla.co.uk shows that the number of properties for sale in the UK that have had their asking price reduced at least once since coming to the market has climbed by more than 13% over the past three months, up from 32.2% in August to 36.4% today.

The figures also show that the total value of the house price discounts has risen by almost £500 million over the last three months as owners start to get both more realistic and desperate to sell. For those properties that have been reduced in price, the average discount currently stands at 6.1% (£15,879) of the original asking price, according to Zoopla.co.uk, which provides a unique feature on its website allowing users to hunt for bargains by sorting properties by how much the price has been reduced by. Towns in the West and the Midlands are seeing the highest number of asking price reductions, with Swindon topping the list where half (49.5%) of all properties currently on the market for sale have been discounted by the seller from the original price. Norwich is in second place with 46.8% of properties having been reduced in price, followed closely by Bournemouth at 45.9%. However, it is in the North that dominates the list of places with the highest average asking price reductions.

The largest discounts are currently to be found in Manchester where price reductions average 7.15%, followed by Newcastle (7.13%) and Milton Keynes (7.04%). At the other end of the scale, the lowest asking price movements are in the South, with average asking prices in Poole and Swindon both down only 5.1%, followed closely by London where the average home has only been reduced in price by 5.2% since coming onto the market. At the top end of the market, for properties listed for sale at over £1 million, the percentage of properties that have been reduced in price has grown by more than 26% over the past 3 months, up from 22.5% in August, to 28.4% today. And the average discount in this price bracket now stands at an above average 8% below the original asking price.

Nicholas Leeming, Commercial Director of Zoopla.co.uk, said, "For the past few months, asking prices have been somewhat out of kilter with what buyers are prepared or can afford to pay, but sellers are becoming increasingly realistic. The traditional New Year influx of properties coming to the market for sale will mean even more competition among sellers and many are keen to try to secure a buyer this side of Christmas and are lowering their expectations accordingly. As a result, now is a great time for buyers to try to land a bargain.”

Falling prices and desperate sellers do not suggest a strength of activity over the coming months, conveyancers may need to tighten their belts and expect a decline in the number of transactions.

Today's Conveyancer