Property Industry Reacts To Rightmove House Price Index

Property asking prices edged higher by an average of £1,950 this month, according to Rightmove’s latest analysis.

Although new asking prices typically rise at this time of the year, the property portal says October’s 0.5% rise is the smallest increase it has seen in October since 2008.

Based on the last 20 years, the average increase seen at this time of year is 1.4%.

The number of sales agreed is 17% below this time last year as buyers adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach, according to Rightmove.

The average asking price for new October listings on Rightmove is £368,231. But his figure may be significantly higher than what homes are ultimately selling for.

Rightmove says that looking back at all homes advertised across its site since the start of the year, a total of 37% of all listings have had their asking price reduced.

Industry reactions:

Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: “The seasonal autumn bounce has been barely detectable this year in the UK housing market. Mortgage rates are stabilising but recent comments from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey about the difficult “last mile” to tame inflation show why buyers and sellers are still hesitant. House prices will continue to come under pressure but we think most of the correction will happen this year and demand will improve in 2024 as inflation comes under control. The general election may limit activity levels but modest single-digit annual growth should return from 2025.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent, stated: “It’s clear from Rightmove and other recent housing surveys that the market is transitioning but certainly not correcting.

“Although the Rightmove figures cover aspirational asking, not selling, prices, on the ground we are finding that buyers above all don’t want to overpay. No-one knows when we’re likely to reach the bottom of the market, but most seem to agree it’s likely to be sooner rather than later now mortgage rates are starting to drop.

“On the other hand, the majority of sellers are not in giveaway mode and ready to accept any offer, but have to show from their pricing and presentation that they mean business if they want to generate serious offers.

“The result is fewer viewings and protracted transactions but nearly all – especially those for cash and equity rich buyers – are getting over the line despite some tough negotiations along the way.”

Adam Feather, managing director of Robert Anthony Estate Agents, commented: “Given that purchasers remain cautious, it is quite clear that vendors need to price sensitively, if they are to have any real chance of securing a deal. Now is not the time for over ambitious asking prices as this will deter potential purchasers. Now, more than ever, sellers need to be guided by estate agents.”

Ben Gee, founder at Hat and Home, said: “Some buyers remain cautious and reticent to commit due to easing prices and increased borrowing costs. With a significant proportion of instructions seeing at least one reduction prior to sale, many buyers are adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach which is creating inertia across all price ranges.

“Premium stock in excellent condition or in the most sought—after locations continues to get strong interest quickly, but the mass market of homes needs to offer ‘good value’ whilst buyers have more property to choose from and are more price sensitive. Ambitious asking prices are exacerbating this and simply slowing down the speed of sale for sellers as they are being ‘pitched’ to the wrong audience until a price correction is made.

“Advising sellers correctly at the point of instruction to adopt a realistic approach to their marketing price will invariably get the property sold quicker at a better final price.”

Ben Hudson, MD at Hudson Moody, commented: “The market is more price sensitive than it’s ever been, making pricing accurately so crucial. Being too optimistic with the asking price causes a double-whammy for sellers– not only do they inevitably have to reduce the price of their home anyway, but they often put off potential buyers with too high an initial asking price and then struggle to recapture this attention when it’s reduced.

“Sellers who price realistically or even a little modestly, often find they are met with more than one buyer who is attracted by the good-value pricing, and then suddenly they have competition to buy the property which typically results in a higher agreed price. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster market this year but certainly right now confidence is returning and we’re heading back to more normal, cyclical patterns. If sellers price right, there are buyers out there for them.”

Matt Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, stated: “An increasing number of London house hunters resumed their property search after the Bank of England announced that interest rates remain at 5.25%. The uplift in buyer confidence continued throughout October as we registered more buyer enquiries and higher volumes of property viewings being conducted.

“Further boosting October’s market activity is the fact that we have now entered the last few months of the year, with many buyers wanting to find a property before the festive season. As a result, the market is becoming more competitive again with some properties receiving multiple bids by several buyers.”

UK asking prices in October at weakest level since 2008 as buyers ‘wait and see’

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