by Mark Johnston
Sellers Raise Asking Prices.
Recent research revealed that house sellers dropped their asking prices by the biggest percentage ever recorded for the month of August.
Asking prices saw an “aggressive” 2.4 per cent drop month on month to reach £236,260 on average, compared with a typical fall of 1.1 per cent it has measured in August over the last 10 years.
Many experts warned that as the tough economy continues, sellers will have to “compete hard” to attract buyers this autumn when activity traditionally picks up after the summer lull, if they want to move house before Christmas.
However despite property sales stuttering and the wealth of bad economic news and according to new figures from the property website rightmove.co.uk many house sellers raised their asking prices by more than £8,000 in October, which is the biggest jump in eight months.
These figures mean that the typical asking price for a home in England and Wales rose by 3.5 per cent month on month to £243,168, and there were increases across all regions.
The rise means prices are 1.5 per cent higher than a year ago and goes some way to reversing an £11,000 drop in asking prices between June and September.
London, which has always been popular with overseas buyers and continues to perform relatively strongly, saw the biggest monthly increase in asking prices, with a 4.8 per ecent jump, taking average prices to £478,071.
Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove.co.uk said “This month’s jump of more than £8,000 in asking prices is partly an anticipated bounce after the Olympic induced activity doldrums, though with all regions seeing increases it also provides evidence of some life in the market”.
Rightmove says that the autumn rebound shows ‘evidence of some life in the housing market’, but that the upturn is most likely due to a shortage of properties, thus meaning potential buyers will have less choice.
While asking prices have risen in October experts state that the rise is still a lot smaller than it was before the credit crunch.
The prospect of a few active selling weeks before the winter slow down means estate agents are keen to attract fresh stock to try and land more buyers. However, this stock building could backfire if they agree to over ambitious pricing to please a seller.
Experts warn that estate agents and sellers should remember that mortgages are still no easier to obtain, with risk averse lenders nit-picking every detail of the mortgage application paperwork, even from buyers who seem squeaky clean.
Sellers looking to try for a higher price need to be mindful that the window of opportunity to sell before the traditional winter slowdown is a narrow one, and they risk being left out in the cold for months until the spring market thaw.
Pricing high with a view to negotiating down can work in a market where buyers are less price-sensitive, but in the current climate sellers may need to price more keenly to be a more compelling buy.
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