Property website Rightmove have reported that average asking prices for homes across England and Wales fell in August by the largest amount since last November.
Asking prices over the past month were, on average, 1.2% lower than in the month before. This is in line with the seasonal average over the past six years as sellers bringing properties onto the market at this time of year tend to post lower asking prices. However, only twice over the past six years has the seasonal drop exceeded 1.2%.
The monthly drop meant that on an annual basis, house prices are up by 4.1%, down from the 4.5% annual change recorded in July, and are now at an average
This year, according to Rightmove, is set to be a “year of two halves” for the housing market, which is currently coming off the back of readjustment following the stamp duty changes in April which rocked the buy-to-let market, and is heading for a period of change now following the EU referendum.
How different the two halves are, they said, “will depend upon the strength of the traditional market rebound this autumn”.
Right move’s director, Miles Shipside, said: “Many prospective buyers take a summer break from home-hunting, and those who come to market at this quieter time of year tend to price more aggressively. This summer is also affected by both Brexit uncertainty and the aftermath of the buy-to-let rush in March to beat the stamp duty deadline.
“The average fall in new seller asking prices at this time of year has been 1.2% over the last six years, so this month’s fall is exactly in line with the long-term average. The largest price falls at this time of year were -2.0% and -1.3% in 2014 and 2010, with the smallest fall being -0.8% in post-election boosted 2015.”
Prices were down the most in Greater London and the South East of England, falling by 2.6% and 2% respectively in the two regions. Rightmove now report the average property price in Greater London to be at £606,826. The cheapest properties in England and Wales are currently found in the North East, although the region only experienced a mild monthly changed of -0.2%.
One area where the North-South divide seems to be tilting in favour of the North is in the average number of days it currently takes to sell a property. In London, the average selling time increased by 5 days between May and July while in the North there has been little to no change, despite selling times still being typically longer than in the South.
Shipside said: “It will be welcome news for some northerners that the traditional north-south divide may be taking a rare turn in their favour. London has seen its price boom curtailed by punitive stamp duty and over-stretched affordability and has been in re-adjustment for a year or more, mostly affecting Inner London.
“At this time of year interest from buyers of more expensive properties that typify much of London and its commuter belt tends to tail off more, as they are often discretionary movers. Having waited for the referendum result, it now seems that some are also waiting until the summer holidays are over before reviewing their course of action.”