Over a third of properties for sale in the UK have had their original asking prices cut since being listed, says the latest Rightmove house price index.
At 37% of all existing homes for sale, this is the highest proportion dropping their prices during the autumn months for five years (see graph below), the portal says.
This pushed down asking prices by 0.8% during October, the index shows, with price reductions heaviest at the top of property ladder.
Rightmove says it’s a buyers’ market now and that vendors should be “wary of over-pricing” and that holding out for a Stamp Duty reduction in next week’s Budget statement to boost buyer activity.
Price cutting following the Summer market high-point is a pre-Xmas tradition within the property market but the proportion of homes for sale being cut in price has been rising over the past three years and is now at a peak.
“In the run-up to the festive season many sellers are trying to tempt distracted buyers to look at their property by dangling the bauble of more attractive pricing given the quieter time of year and more challenging market,” says Miles Shipside (pictured, right).
“Many sellers who have been on the market for a while are curbing their initial pricing optimism and are hoping that reducing their property price will result in buyers selecting it as this year’s must-have Christmas gift.
“The effect is an impromptu Autumn Sale with the largest proportion of sellers on the market having reduced their initial asking prices at this time of year since 2012.”
Russell Quirk, CEO of hybrid agency eMoov (pictured, left), says he believes that, despite the current seasonal slowdown and price cutting, there have been “signs of life returning to the market over the last few months” and that “it is likely that some sellers may have jumped the gun a bit and priced a little too optimistically as a result,” he adds.
“However, we’re confident that when the market springs back to life in January we will see it continued to build momentum, with sellers once again able to price a little higher than they currently are, albeit increasing at a slow and steady rate.”