Culture

Sellers bite bullet and cut prices amid housing market slowdown

Homes taking longer to sell, a declining interest from buyers as the flow of freshly marketed properties deteriorates, and the asking prices of top-end homes coming under pressure were all factors highlighted by the latest housing market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Prices advanced in Scotland, Wales, north-west England and Northern Ireland.

It says 70 per cent of respondents report sales prices of homes under £1m coming in at below the asking prices.

The house price balance in the United Kingdom narrowed in October, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said on Thursday - gaining just 1.0%.

Similarly, respondents are reporting a weakening picture in the South East, while East Anglia and the North East also returned readings below zero.

Referring to the troubles of Theresa May in the face of a divided Cabinet and stalled Brexit negotiations, Neil Foster, a surveyor in Newcastle Upon Tyne, said: "Prolonged political uncertainty and weak direction from government is hampering sentiment amongst buyers and sellers".

Interest from buyers also continued to decline, with 20 per cent more respondents seeing a fall in new buyer inquiries over the month. The mortgage lending giant said house price rises had picked up.

Halifax's index pointed to annual growth in house prices of 4.5 per cent in October, up from 4 per cent in September. In total 63 per cent more respondents in the capital reported falling prices than rising prices over the past month.

The Bank of England raised interest rates last week for the first time in a decade, something that is expected to slow the housing market further over the coming months.

In keeping with other indicators pointing to a slower market, it is now also taking longer to complete a sale, with the average time rising to 18.5 weeks nationally, up from 16.6 in February 2017 when the measure was first introduced in the RICS monthly survey.

By region, house prices were down in London, the South East, north-east England and East Anglia.

Data from RICS showed that 62 per cent of respondents said sale prices were below asking prices for homes valued between £500,000 and £1m.

He adds: "A stagnant second-hand market is bad news for the wider economy, not just in terms of spending but also because it restricts mobility. If consumers are seeking to sell then pricing realistically is going to be key, as clearly there are still buyers out there who are motivated and want to move, but the dynamic is shifting slightly in some areas".

Prices also continue to be under pressure in a trend that started in March 2016.



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