UK house prices drop by £5,000, with former hotspots in the South suffering

In November, UK house prices fell by more than £5,000, with sharp falls in the South as sellers lowered their asking price aspirations, according to Rightmove.

Rightmove says that the price of property coming to market fell by 1.7%, or £5,222, the largest November drop since 2012. This took the average price of a property down to £302,023.

Rightmove says that sellers are pricing more realistically in an effort to minimise pre-Christmas “buyer humbug” syndrome fuelled by stretched affordability and Brexit uncertainty.

All regions recorded monthly fall in the price of property coming to market, with some of biggest falls in the South.

Yorkshire and the Humber recorded the largest monthly price fall at 2.4% to £186,935, followed by the South East where prices dropped on average by 2.1% or £8,647.

Average prices in London dropped by 1.7%, or £10,793. Rightmove says that this is not unexpected given that the capital generally sees greater seasonal price volatility than the rest of the country.

The ripple effect of house price rises in London spreading out to the rest of the South East has now been reversed, with some of the market price re-adjustment reverberating out into the commuter belt.

Higher-end former hotspot towns are now among the biggest annual fallers with Rickmansworth (-7.1%), Esher (-6.4%) and Gerrards Cross (-6.0%) now cold spots following price rises of nearly 40% over the seven preceding years.

A map of regional changes in UK house prices

Source: Rightmove, November 2018

In Scotland, average asking prices fell by 1.3% to £151,209, while in Wales they fell by 1.2% to £192,441.

The North East and North West of England experienced the smallest monthly asking price falls, dropping by 0.6%.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside says: “New sellers and their agents are reacting to market forces and lowering their pricing aspirations by more and sooner than usual. Stretched buyer affordability and the cooling markets in the South and in upper price brackets have combined with the ongoing political uncertainty to change pricing optimism into pricing realism.”

He adds: “This is a welcome effort by sellers to minimise the usual pre-Christmas market slowdown. Some new-to-the-market sellers and their agents have acted early to try to improve the buying mood and avoid the traditional ‘buyer humbug’ dislike of Christmas housing activity.”

Richard Freshwater, director of Cheffins Estate Agents in Cambridge, says that sellers need to ensure that their properties are priced realistically from the outset, rather than making lots of small price cuts if they want to sell.

He says: “The key with price reductions is to drop the price by enough to bring in a new set of buyers within a new bracket. The mistake often made by sellers is to reduce the price on consecutive occasions, which can have a damaging effect and put buyers off.”

“It is much more sensible to significantly reduce to a rounded figure and then bring in higher levels of interest, hopefully to generate competition between buyers.”

This article was originally written by our sister publication Moneywise.

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