Rightmove: Asking prices fall more than usual for December

Average asking prices in December have fallen more than usual for the seasonal slowdown, Rightmove claims.

The portal’s latest House Price Index shows average new seller asking prices fell by 1.9% or £6,966 at the start of this month to £355,177. 

It attributes this to sellers pricing more competitively amid a slower market and to attract buyers during the festive period.

This is a slightly bigger December drop in newly marketed property prices than usual, with the December average over the past 20 years showing a 1.5% decline.

The December drop means that the year ends with national average asking prices 1.1% below this time last year, while sales agreed for the year to date in 2023’s more challenging market are 13% lower annually.

Prices in seven out of 11 regions are higher than a year ago, Rightmove says.

The North West leads the way, up by 1.5% compared to last year, while the South East is the worst performer at 3.7% below 2022

The report also shows that the average time to find a buyer in November hit the highest level this year at 66 days, while the average stock per agent is at 52 properties compared with 48 a year before.

The portal said it is seeing early signs of more activity in the family mover market, with demand in the mid-market second-stepper sector -all three and four bed properties, excluding four bed detached houses – up by 9% versus the post-mini-Budget period of this time last year, compared with overall demand being up by 6%.

Rightmove has previously forecast a further 1% drop in asking prices next year.

Tim Bannister, director of property science for Rightmove, said:

“Further price falls beyond the usual seasonal trends that we’d expect at this time of year signal that some new sellers are continuing to act on the advice of agents to price competitively. 

“We entered this year under a cloud of uncertainty, as the fallout from the Autumn mini-Budget filtered through to lower activity levels.

“High mortgage rates which have added to already-stretched buyer affordability have been a challenge throughout 2023 and this is likely to carry into next year. 

“However for now, there appears to be more calm and certainty heading into 2024, and the annual fall of 1.1% in asking prices highlights the market’s much-better-than-predicted resilience this year.”
With mortgage rates more settled and on a slow downward trend, Bannister suggests potential movers who have been biding their time and waiting for calmer market conditions may decide to act in the early part of next year. 

Bannister added:

“There’s always a big post-Christmas upturn in Rightmove traffic, with early bird-buyers starting their search on Boxing Day. 

“This year’s upturn will be eagerly anticipated by those who are keen to sell, especially family movers who are considering having an estate agent board put up as the Christmas tree comes down.

“Rightmove’s research and agent feedback is that the best strategy to sell in the current market is to price temptingly at the outset of marketing, rather than testing the waters with a higher price.

“This will hopefully avoid the need to reduce your asking price later, and capture that early-bird buyer’s interest in the New Year, whilst also avoiding the stress of drawing out the selling process and risking having the for-sale board still up at Easter.”


Kindly shared by Estate Agent Today