Further falls in UK asking prices

18-08-2008

Further falls in UK asking prices
The average asking price for property in the England and Wales property market has continued to fall during August, according to the latest study from the Rightmove.co.uk.

The online property portal finds the average asking price slipped by 2.3 per cent (£5,403) over the month, accentuating a fall of 1.8 per cent during July.

As a result asking prices are now down by 4.8 per cent in the year to August, the fastest fall ever recorded by Rightmove - accelerating from just two per cent in July.

The most recent falls have taken the average asking price down to £229,816, finds Rightmove - down from a peak of £242,500 in May this year.

London was worst hit during asking, as new sellers knocked £21,000 off the asking prices for property in a month. Furthermore, if London is removed from the average, annual fall accelerate to 5.3 per cent.

"This rapid re-adjustment during the last three months comes as some discretionary sellers choose not to enter the market, leaving a higher proportion of forced sellers who price more aggressively," explains Miles Shipside, commercial director for Rightmove.

The number of new listings also fell, down by a quarter on expectations to stand at 106,000 during August. This suggests nervous vendors are steering clear of the market, hoping to ride out the storm without the need to make a distressed sale.

However, research from both the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) illustrates repossessions and levels of arrears have increased during 2008.

"While those who do not have to sell are holding off, sellers who are also looking to buy are strongly placed to negotiate an equal or larger reduction in the price of the property they are buying," continued Mr Shipside.

"In addition, buyers currently benefit from the best choice in years.

"For example, properties that are architecturally desirable or in tight school catchment areas are increasingly attainable.

"Buyers with specific requirements should take a long-term view to try and secure their dream home," he added.

In spite of the low supply of new instructions, the average unsold stock of property per estate agency now stands at 78, up from 77 last month.

"The lack of mortgage finance is central to the problem, and perhaps that is where policymakers' attention should be focused, as the banks can't or won't sort out the mess they were instrumental in creating," concluded Mr Shipside.

"In the meantime, sellers need to continue to price to sell, present their homes to be the best on the street, and promote them better than the rest to really stand out."

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