December’s House Price Index explained

‘Tis the season to be jolly for savvy buyers as new Rightmove figures show bargain hunters could take advantage of lower asking prices in the countdown to Christmas.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside explains that cheaper prices are tempting buyers back into the market, with new sellers lowering their price expectations to help get more sales over the line.

He said: “It’s usual for new-to-the-market sellers to price lower in the run-up to Christmas to tempt distracted buyers.

“With stretched affordability limiting some people’s ability to buy for the first time or trade up, a modest lowering of property prices combined with an increase in wage growth could help more of them to move and thus increase transaction numbers.”

Figures published in our December House Price Index show that the number of sales agreed are encouragingly resilient – only 2.1% down on this time last year, despite market headwinds.

Our research also shows the price of property coming to market has dropped by 1.5% (-£4,497) this month, which is not unusual given would-be sellers are trying to tempt buyers amid political uncertainty.

There are still buyers in the market for properties at the right price, however, and with Rightmove traffic usually tripling between Christmas Day and the New Year, would-be sellers will maximise their exposure if they come to market soon.

Our data scientists tell us that from the low point on Christmas Day, the number of pages of property viewed on Rightmove last year rocketed by 228% by the first working day of the New Year.

Miles added: “The run-up to Christmas can be one of the best times for buyers to negotiate a better deal, as they are fewer in number so sellers who are keen to sell have to talk turkey on accepting a lower price.

“The window of maximum buyer negotiating opportunity starts to close from Boxing Day onwards, as more buyers become active in the market.

“Home owners who are thinking of coming to the market early in 2019 should seriously consider doing so as soon as possible to get maximum exposure to the surge in interest from buyers who make it their resolution to move in the New Year.”

Rightmove’s forecast for 2019 predicts asking prices to stay flat over the course of 2019.

We expect the north to still broadly out-perform the south, though our prediction for the year ahead is slightly more muted with the overall national average flat at 0%.

>> View our full House Price Index report for December here


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