Buyers and sellers play ‘wait and see’

HPI UKNew sellers in November cut their average asking prices by 3.2%, the biggest monthly fall recorded since December 2007. Rightmove has now seen falls in four out of the last five months, and with continuing as we move into the tougher winter selling season, anyone who is serious about selling will have to ensure their property stands out as a bargain buy.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove comments: “Agents report that the Christmas slowdown has come early this year, as both would-be buyers and sellers are adopting a ‘wait and see’ policy until the direction of next year’s housing market becomes apparent. The combination of high unsold stocks, the mortgage famine, a shaky economy and the normal winter slowdown gives an ideal scenario for bargain-hunting buyers. Those buyers who are currently lying in wait may wish to pounce this winter rather than next”.

The Bank of England’s latest figures for mortgage approvals show that the ratio between new property supply and successful mortgage applications is still stuck at around 2 to 1. While not every property sells, and not every buyer needs a mortgage, the continuing restriction on the number of mortgages approved shows the on-going mismatch that is helping to cause stagnation in the market. The slowdown is starting to be enhanced by the fact that many people may prefer to put off their home-moving activity until after Christmas.

Shipside adds: “Those buying as well as selling may have to reduce their price aspirations, but if they get 10% less on theirs whilst achieving a 10% drop on their purchase then they will come out ahead. However, if a lower price means that your equity won’t fund both your moving expenses and a large deposit, then you may be forced to stay on the sidelines.”

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