New-to-Market Homes in U.K. See Lowest Asking Prices in a Year

Prices for new-to-the-market homes across the U.K. have hit their lowest point since last August, as the average asking price in every region fell compared to last month, according to Monday’s report from Rightmove.

Average asking prices of newly marketed property fell 2.3%, or by £7,218 (US$9,213), this month, dragged down by a subdued London market and the surrounding commuter region of South East England.

With those two regions excluded, the monthly drop would be just 1.5%, according to Rightmove, which analyzed the asking prices of properties listed from July 8 to Aug. 11.

But it was Scotland that logged the largest monthly decline, as asking prices fell 3.8% compared to last month. Asking prices in Wales, meanwhile, had the best performance, dipping just 0.1%.

The overall price fall is in line with a historical trend of sellers pricing aggressively at this time of year to try and quickly find a buyer.

"Sellers who come to market in the peak holiday month often have a pressing need to sell and price down accordingly, and are offering ‘summer sale’ prices to entice holiday-distracted buyers," said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, in the report.

Since buyer affordability has been stretched by a 32% increase in average property prices in the U.K. since 2010, "more substantial discounts are required to tempt warier buyers," Mr. Shipside said.  

On a yearly basis, asking prices are 1.1% higher than this time last year, while transaction levels remained fairly flat, down by just 0.8% in the same time.

"Overall, in spite of political uncertainty, sales agreed are holding pretty steady, and it is usual for there to be an upturn in prices and buyer activity as we head into the autumn season, especially if sellers maintain their cheaper pricing to attract buyers," Mr. Shipside said.

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