Third of British sellers drop asking prices in bid to lure buyers as number of homes for sale rises

House prices are at a standstill but more choice for buyers means sellers need to wise up on marketing tactics, a new report says.

A third of current British sellers have dropped their asking prices at least once – the highest proportion in seven years — according to the latest house price figures.

The Rightmove House Price Index for July found sellers with high price expectations were struggling to attract offers from buyers as they face greater competition from other sellers.  

The number of new-to-market properties is up 8.6 per cent on this time last year and stock for sale per estate agent is the highest since September 2015.

Meanwhile, buyer numbers have remained static, forcing sellers to work harder if they want to hand over their keys.

As a result, house prices in England, Scotland and Wales are at a virtual standstill, falling £248 on average compared to last month.

This is partly due to the expected summer slowdown, but buyers also have more choice, meaning sellers in areas of over-supply are having to compete on price, presentation and promotion.

Miles Shipside, Rightmovedirector and housing market analyst, welcomed the increase in properties for sale at a time when the market is starved of stock, but said: “At this time of year, many potential sellers are more focused on erecting sun umbrellas as opposed to ‘For Sale’ signs, and would-be buyers are equally distracted by their summer holidays.

“Prospective buyers will need tempting with a summer special price or a beautifully finished and presented must-have home, and sellers whose homes tick these boxes then need an estate agent with good marketing skills to promote it effectively.”

Rightmove said that listing your home with a realistic price tag from the offset helps attract immediate buyer interest and ups the chances of bagging an early sale. You can reduce the asking price at any point, with a third of properties currently on the market having been dropped at least once, but this runs the risk of buyers wondering why the property has not been snapped up.

The number of sales being agreed by estate agents has barely changed year-on-year (down just 0.2 per cent). This was interpreted as a positive sign given Britain’s uncertain political situation and stretched buyer affordability.

However, a lack of buyers and falling asking prices in London and the South East are keeping the national average down. London properties are taking an average of 70 days to sell, compared to just 39 days in Scotland.

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