November 3, 2010 12:13 pm

Property sellers cut asking prices

Homeowners are reducing their asking prices in reaction to a stagnating housing market, according to new research.

Property website Zoopla.co.uk said the number of properties for sale in the UK that have reduced their for sale price at least once since coming to the market has climbed by more than 13 per cent over the past three months – up from 32.2 per cent in August to 36.4 per cent today.

The figures also show that the total value of the house price discounts has risen by almost £500m over the last three months as owners have started to get both more realistic and desperate to sell.

For those properties that have been reduced in price, the average discount currently stands at 6.1 per cent, or around £15,879, of the original asking price, according to Zoopla.co.uk.

Towns in the West and the Midlands have seen the highest number of asking price reductions. Swindon tops the list where 49 per cent of all properties currently on the market for sale have been discounted by the seller from the original price. Norwich is in second place with 46.8 per cent of properties having been reduced in price, followed closely by Bournemouth at 45.9 per cent.

However, the North dominates the list of places with the highest average asking price reductions. The largest discounts are currently to be found in Manchester where price reductions average 7.15 per cent, followed by Newcastle and Milton Keynes.

At the other end of the scale, the lowest asking price movements are in the South, with average asking prices in Poole and Swindon both down only 5.1 per cent, followed closely by London where the average home has only been reduced in price by 5.2 per cent since coming onto the market.

At the top end of the market, for properties listed for sale at over £1m, the percentage of properties that have been reduced in price has grown by more than 26 per cent over the past 3 months, up from 22.5 per cent in August, to 28.4 per cent today. And the average discount in this price bracket now stands at 8 per cent.

“For the past few months, asking prices have been somewhat out of kilter with what buyers are prepared or can afford to pay, but sellers are becoming increasingly realistic,” said Nicholas Leeming, commercial director of Zoopla.co.uk.

“The traditional New Year influx of properties coming to the market for sale will mean even more competition among sellers and many are keen to try to secure a buyer this side of Christmas and are lowering their expectations accordingly. As a result, now is a great time for buyers to try to land a bargain.”

The research followed news earlier this week from Hometrack that faltering demand and rising supply has pushed the average value of a house down by 0.9 per cent to £156,200 in October, marking the fourth month of falling prices. The Nationwide House price index also reported a 0.7 per cent fall in October.

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