According to the latest House Price Index for this month on one major online property portal, the average asking price for homes which are new to the market has declined by an annual percentage of 0.4% to £366,281, the biggest dip since March 2019. Asking prices are up 0.4% when considered on a monthly basis, compared with an average 0.6% for the same period over the past decade, the portal adds.

At the same time, another portal reports that the number of properties going under offer within a month of listing has fallen from 54% to 38% due to ‘hyper-sensitivity’ to pricing, although its chief executive told journalists: “Buyers and sellers are still proceeding”.

Equally, more than half (61%) of British sellers had confidence that they would sell within three months.

Numbers of overall sales agreed last month are also down by nearly a fifth (18%) compared to the same time in 2019, although homes for first-time purchasers are faring a little better, with a slightly lower reduction of 13%.

At the same time, the Guardian reports that over a third (36%) of properties have cut their asking prices on at least one occasion, and that this is the highest figure for this since 2011. The typical reduction nationally is of £22,700 or 6.2%.

The portal added that while some vendors are heeding their agent’s advice and pricing their properties accordingly from the outset, others are being overly optimistic about the value of their property.

Yet the picture is by no means unrelentingly bleak, and there are some signs that things are beginning to pick up. Back-to-school sellers, for example, boosted the volume of fresh properties coming on the market by 12% in early September, compared to the average weekly number during August.

And if you look at the picture by sector, first-time buyer listings rose by a more modest 7%, while ‘second-step’ properties were up 11% over the same period. At the top end of the market, which is admittedly a smaller proportion of it as a whole, new listings increased by nearly a quarter (24%).

Overall, the portal says it predicts a 2% dip in asking prices in 2023, due mainly to the rise in interest rates plus a “bigger than expected summer lull”.

However, it stressed that it anticipated an ‘autumn bounce’, while local market conditions in different areas remain highly variable, meaning that a locally based estate agent is best placed to offer advice to sellers and will give them the best possible chance of attracting a buyer this autumn.

Oakfield says

We’re confident that there is still plenty of movement within the market at the moment, and people do want to move, indeed they always will. But, now more than ever, properties must be priced correctly.

When we value properties, we always aim to provide a genuine figure, one we believe we can sell the property for, rather than over-valuing just so we get the instruction. The truth is that accurate pricing is more important now than ever, although unfortunately we’re aware that some of our competitors do persist in over-valuing places.

We also agree with the industry insider who said that one upside of challenging markets is that they tend to weed out those who may not be serious about moving and so could potentially waste your time. That’s because it’s less likely that people will want to view places speculatively.

Instead, in trickier conditions, some people may prefer to adopt an approach of ‘wait and see’. That may mean waiting until rates stabilise further or until there is a stronger motivation for moving.

Overall, sellers should not feel disheartened. There may be fewer buyers, but those who are around are likely to be very motivated. Take advice from a local estate agent and price sensitively and there’s no reason why you can’t still complete a successful transaction.

At Oakfield, we’ve been dealing with sales, lettings and rentals in our part of East Sussex since the mid-1990s. So we have an extremely keen feel for the local market plus a very good idea of property values and how much a place is realistically likely to fetch.

As we move in to what should be a brisker period for house sales in the weeks and months between now and Christmas, of course no one has a crystal ball or can predict what house sales may or may not do in the future.

But we believe that right now people are increasingly thinking about what they want from where they live, and where they want to be based in 2024 and beyond, and will be taking action and proactively and seriously looking into their next move.

What’s more, we promise that we’ll always be clear-eyed and realistic when it comes to price, and will give you a figure based on extensive knowledge and experience that won’t raise expectations falsely.

Get in touch with us today for an informal chat, without charge or obligation, click here for our contact info.