NAEA Propertymark’s March Housing Report has now been released, and it is showing a record number of homes being sold for less than asking price.
Almost 9 in 10 properties sold for less than the asking price, which is the highest level seen since the records began in 2013. This is an increase of 12% from February, at which point 74% of sellers had accepted offers below their original asking price.
Furthermore, in March only 1 in 10 properties sold for their original asking price, this result being the lowest since record began.
The demand for housing also appears to have fallen marginally, with the number of house-hunters on estate agents’ books dropping ever so slightly from 309 registered per branch in February, to 308.
Year on year, the demand for housing is down by 22%. Per branch, agents registered 397 house-hunters in March 2017, and 417 in 2016. Also per branch, the number of properties available has increased from 35 in February, to 40 in March. This is the highest since October last year.
Sales to first-time buyers have fallen to 26% in March, despite last month seeing a rise, following the Chancellor’s introduction of stamp duty relief for those purchasing their first homes. In comparison, in January this figure was at 27% and in February it was 29%. Looking at the sales that were agreed, there has been no change, with an average of 8 recorded per branch.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark commented: “Earlier this month, Zoopla research showed that on average, houses are being sold for almost £25,000 less than asking price, which our findings echo.
“A record number of properties sold for less than asking price in March, indicating that buyers have shifted into the power seat. This is music to house-hunters’ ears – especially first-time buyers. Although sales to the group have fallen, the fact that the market is moving in the favour of buyers may trigger an upward swing in the number of sales agreed as they’re in a position to negotiate lower prices.
“However, this is a short-term triumph for buyers. Although demand has cooled off over the last few months and created these market conditions, it’s likely to increase again as those holding off on making purchases move to take advantage of these lower prices. Ultimately, this means the number of offers accepted below asking price will fall again and the market will swing back in the favour of homeowners.
“The only thing which will offer a long term solution is more homes to balance the issue of supply and demand.”