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London homes take longer to sell than other UK cities

Property owners seeking to sell their homes in London could be forced two wait an extra two weeks compared to other major UK cities, as the capital suffers from weak market conditions.

Residential properties now take 14.5 weeks to sell, more than one month longer than it took to complete a sale in 2016.

Sellers in the London market are accepting offers from buyers that are on average 5.7 per cent below their asking price, up from 1.8 per cent three years ago, according to the latest Cities House Price Index by Zoopla.

The discount to asking prices is even more in inner boroughs, with agreed prices averaging 7.9 per cent below asking prices in central London compared to the 4.7 per cent gap in the suburbs.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “Market conditions are set to remain weak in southern cities until pricing levels adjust to what buyers are willing, or can afford to pay.

“London is three years into a re-pricing process, and we expect sales volumes to slowly improve over 2020, while house price growth remains subdued.

“There are large parts of the country where housing affordability remains attractive, fuelled by continued economic growth that supports demand for homes, resulting in reasonable sales periods and only modest gaps between sales and asking prices.”

The strongest market conditions were in Scotland, where homes in Glasgow and Edinburgh sell within five to six weeks as a different system is used for sales transactions and more information is provided to buyers up front.

Glasgow and Edinburgh were also the only UK cities not to register a discount.

Donnell added: “There is a continued polarisation in housing market conditions across the country set by underlying market fundamentals, albeit Brexit uncertainty has been a compounding factor for lower market activity.”

By Jessica Clark

Source: City AM

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UK property asking prices show weakest October rise since 2008 – Rightmove

Asking prices for British houses put on sale in October showed the smallest seasonal increase since the financial crisis, as all but the most determined sellers waited for greater certainty over Brexit, industry figures showed on Monday.

Rightmove said that the average asking price for homes sold via its website was 0.6% higher in October than in September, well below the average 1.6% rise seen for the time of year and the smallest increase since October 2008.

“With upward pricing power now pretty flat, some sellers who are motivated by maximising their money seem to be holding back. They may be waiting for more certainty around both achieving their price aspirations and also the Brexit outcome,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.

Average asking prices in October were 0.2% lower than in October 2018, compared with an annual rise of 0.2% in September.

Britain’s housing market has slowed since June 2016’s referendum on leaving the European Union, and official data last week – based on completed sales – showed annual house price growth of 1.3% in the year to August, up from a near seven-year low of 0.8% in July.

Consumers have become warier about making major purchases in general.

A quarterly survey of consumer sentiment by accountants Deloitte, also released on Monday, showed morale fell to its lowest since late 2018 in the third quarter of 2019, despite wages growing at their fastest rate in a decade.

“Up to now we have seen a slowdown everywhere but in the jobs market and in the consumer economy,” Deloitte economist Ian Stewart said. “A decline in consumer confidence this quarter, combined with a fall in official unemployment figures, show that the period of remarkable resilience … is coming to an end.”

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce

Source: UK Reuters

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Biggest fall in house prices for five years

ASPIRING first-time buyers will be hoping to get a foot in the door after the biggest fall in house prices for five years.

The average asking price has dropped by £8,000 across the UK and £23,000 in London over the past month, property website Rightmove has revealed.

It comes after chancellor Philip Hammond offered another chink of light to first-time buyers in his Budget by exempting them from stamp duty on homes worth up to £300,000.

Rightmove’s director Miles Shipside said prices were likely to rise again next year but sellers faced a ‘more challenging market’.

He added: ‘2018 will continue the 2017 trend by being a real mixed bag of different price pressures, both up and down. But the net result is that we forecast another year of a slowing in the pace of price rises.’ The average asking price was £302,865, show the Rightmove figures, which cover homes of all sizes.

The 2.4 per cent drop from £311,043 is the biggest since a 3.1 per cent slide in December 2012.

In London, prices fell 3.7 per cent to an average of £605,203, from £628,219.

However, experts warned home ownership will remain a dream for millions of renters.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark, said: ‘There is still a long way to go before many first-time buyers can imagine getting on the housing ladder. While the stamp duty change in the Budget will feel like a positive step for them, we may find it increases demand for properties in the new year and ironically pushes prices up.’

Polly Neate, of housing charity Shelter, said: ‘We all know that homes are over-priced, so modest falls in house prices should not raise alarm bells.

‘Even with these slight drops, home ownership is still a distant pipe dream for most ordinary working people. That’s why we really need to see the government building more genuinely affordable homes.’

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said sellers should not worry unduly as demand was healthy despite uncertainty over Brexit and the first interest rate rise in nine years.

‘The market has remained consistent and steady in real terms, which will provide us with a stable start to 2018,’ he said.

Source: Metro News