Looming election deters sellers but cheaper prices tempt buyers

The impending general election and Brexit uncertainty are causing sellers to hesitate from putting their homes on the market, new Rightmove data has shown.

The number of new sellers is down by nearly 15% this month, as would-be sellers postpone their marketing plans due to the current political deadlock – which may be broken next month.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: “I’ve seen lots of unusual events affecting the property market in my 40-year career, but a Brexit deadline followed by a snap general election six weeks later is obviously a new combination for me and for many thousands of buyers and sellers.

“A more certain outlook, whatever it may be, would be a welcome change for those who are contemplating moving.”

The good news for buyers, however, is that new seller asking prices are 1.3% cheaper than last month and virtually flat year-on-year.

Moreover, the number of sales agreed remains resilient – just 2.9% lower than a year ago – suggesting that there are still many buyers in the market to take advantage of winter bargain-hunting opportunities.

Whilst 14.9% fewer properties have come to market this month compared to the same period a year ago, it’s possible that some would-be sellers are waiting to see if whoever wins the election goes on to reform stamp duty and thus reduce their cost of moving.

Shipside added: “Many buyers are getting on with their lives and making the most of the better negotiating opportunities that the distractions of electioneering and the seasonal slowdown in the run-up to Christmas can bring.”

Larger properties (detached houses with four bedrooms, and all types with five or more bedrooms) are the most active sales sector at present, with the number of sales agreed just 1.4% down compared to last year.

Shipside said: “With an average price tag of over half a million pounds, those with the money are potentially in the money when it comes to year-on-year savings. If you are buying and selling in the same market, then what you gain on the buying swings you may lose on the selling roundabouts.

“However, it does seem that some who have hung back in this most expensive bracket are now seeing an opportunity to engage.”

To read November’s House Price Index in full, click here.


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