Asking prices dropped by an average of 2.3 per cent last month
With the average sale currently taking thirteen weeks from an offer being accepted to completion and moving date, that leaves very little time for buyers who want to move before Yuletide to find a property to purchase in order to meet their deadline.
Meanwhile, those selling at the moment are acutely aware that if they don’t secure an offer soon, then a December moving date will be unlikely, which is potentially why asking prices dropped on average by 2.3 per cent last month, with vendors pricing more keenly in order to tempt a buyer over the summer.
That said, asking prices on average for the UK have remained at near-record highs, with the median marketing price now at £301,973.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst commented: “Sellers who come to market in the peak holiday month often have a pressing need to sell and price down accordingly, and are offering ‘summer sale’ prices to entice holiday-distracted buyers.
“The market started its most recent cyclical price upturn in 2010, and since then the average price of property coming to market has gone up by 32 per cent, stretching buyer affordability.
“More substantial discounts are therefore required to tempt warier buyers, with higher house prices also tightening the purse strings of lenders.
“With lacklustre average wage growth, more buyers are bumping up against the tighter lending criteria brought in four years ago following the Mortgage Market Review, which were intended to prevent another boom-and-bust cycle.”
Reviewing the year on year figures, new seller asking prices are only slightly increased at 1.1 per cent higher than the same period in 2017, which some may suggest does slightly assist with buyer affordability, although many would also argue that current values stretch the boundaries for most buyers.
If buyers want to be in a new home for Christmas, they need to act fast
Miles continued: “The ‘beast from the east’ weather was a factor in sales agreed numbers being down by 5.4 per cent year-to-date when we reported back in May, but they are on an upward trajectory and are now 3.5 per cent down year-to-date.
“Overall in spite of political uncertainty, sales agreed are holding pretty steady and it is usual for there to be an upturn in prices and buyer activity as we head into the Autumn season, especially if sellers maintain their cheaper pricing to attract buyers.”
David Plumtree, Connells Group Estate Agency Chief Executive added: “Since the start of the summer, we have run sales campaigns across our branch network and have re-launched almost 5,000 properties to the market, all with meaningful price reductions.
“So far, we have agreed sales on 30 per cent of those properties which goes to show that, despite subdued market conditions and the gloom in the wider economy, there remains decent levels of demand for well – priced stock.”
In the current climate, realistic pricing is key
Brian Murphy, Head of Lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau also observed: “With the festive season a mere 18 weeks away, today’s report focuses the mind somewhat on those who want to be in their new home before Christmas, and highlights the relatively short opportunity for would-be buyers to find a property in order to be in ready to put up the lights and tree.
“The reality is that for those who wish to transact in the window available, it’s key for those in the market to be highly organised and ideally, to get their lending arrangements in place before doing anything else so as to not create a delay in a few weeks’ time.”
Brian also noted: “In the current climate, realistic pricing is key, not just to get the deal done, but also to ensure that the transaction runs as smoothly as possible and avoids issues with a mortgage valuation.
“It’s also good to see that the average stock per agent has edged up slightly, however one swallow certainly doesn’t make for a summer so it will take a few months of sustained activity to have a real impact on the market.”
Realistic pricing can help to avoid ‘issues with a mortgage valuation’
If you’re selling at the moment and want to complete before December but haven’t as yet found a buyer, take this opportunity to instruct your solicitor or conveyancer to get your legals started, so that you’ve got your paperwork ready to go once you do secure an offer.
Otherwise, if you only start to prepare your documentation once you’ve agreed a sale, you’re building in a four to five-week delay before you even start.
If you’re selling a leasehold property, by the time you factor in your solicitor getting the necessary elements through from a management company or Freeholder, it could be considerably longer.
For the rest of us, who may be shuddering at the thought of the ‘C’ word already, don’t worry; the mince pies and decorations will be in the shops soon.
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