Buyers’ market makes a comeback

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Image: property in London (property division)

Nearly three-quarters of homes sold in January went for below the asking price according to the National Association of Estate Agents, prompting it to suggest the tide has turned against vendors.

Estate agents that are members of the NEA report that 73% of residential property was sold for less than asking price in January, compared with the 56% that sold for less than the original price in January 2014.

However, the number of transactions is rising, according to the NEA, which says an average of eight homes were sold per estate agency branch in January, compared with five in December.

“The stamp duty reforms have already created movement. Following this, sellers may have hiked up prices to take advantage of buyers’ increased budgets. But it seems buyers are counter-acting this by negotiating prices back down,” says Mark Hayward, the association’s managing director. “This is creating a buyers’ market.”

The NAEA also reports a slight slowdown in buying and selling activity. Supply was down to 44 properties available per member branch, compared with an average 47 for the whole year in 2014 and 45 in December. Demand also fell 2%, with the number of potential buyers registered per branch falling from 360 in December to 353 in January.

“The housing market is based solely on sentiment and so if consumers feel an ounce of uncertainty, this will result in a temporary lull,” Hayward explains.