Almost nine in 10 properties sold for less than asking price in March

Ryan Bembridge

April 27, 2018

Almost nine in 10 (86%) properties sold for less than the asking price in March, the highest level seen since records began in 2013, NAEA Propertymark’s housing report found.

This is an increase of 12% from February when 74% of sellers accepted offers below their original asking price.

Furthermore, only one in 10 properties (10%) sold for the original asking price in March, the lowest since records began.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “Earlier this month, Zoopla research showed that on average, houses are being sold for almost £25,000 less than asking price, which our findings echo.

“A record number of properties sold for less than asking price in March, indicating that buyers have shifted into the power seat. This is music to house-hunters’ ears – especially first-time buyers.

“Although sales to the group have fallen, the fact that the market is moving in the favour of buyers may trigger an upward swing in the number of sales agreed as they’re in a position to negotiate lower prices.

“However, this is a short-term triumph for buyers. Although demand has cooled off over the last few months and created these market conditions, it’s likely to increase again as those holding off on making purchases move to take advantage of these lower prices.

“Ultimately, this means the number of offers accepted below asking price will fall again and the market will swing back in the favour of homeowners. The only thing which will offer a long term solution is more homes to balance the issue of supply and demand.”

The number of house-hunters on estate agents’ books fell marginally in March – from 309 registered per branch in February, to 308.

Year-on-year, demand for housing is down by 22%, as agents registered 397 house-hunters per branch in March 2017 and 417 in 2016.

The number of properties available per branch increased from 35 in February, to 40 in March – the highest since October last year.

Despite sales to first-time buyers rising last month following the Chancellor’s introduction of the stamp duty relief for those purchasing their first homes, sales to the group fell by 3% to 26% in March. This is down from 27% in January and 29% in February.

The number of sales agreed stayed the same in March with an average of eight recorded per branch.

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