Things may be looking up for those who are eager to get a foot on the housing ladder – according to the latest figures from the Halifax House Price Index, house price rises have softened year-on-year, while other research from Zoopla has highlighted a noticeable increase in the size of asking price reductions.
Halifax's data showed that house prices in the three months to April were 9.2% higher than in the year previously. While this still reflects a rise, it is a noticeable softening from March's 10.1% growth and the smallest annual increase seen since November 2015. Prices also eased on a quarterly and monthly basis: prices from February to April were 1.5% higher than in the previous quarter, which is also the smallest quarterly increase since November 2015 (1.4%), while prices actually fell by 0.8% month-on-month, putting the average house price in the UK at £212,321.
What's more, this annual easing could continue thanks to lessening confidence on the part of consumers: Martin Ellis, Halifax's housing economist, highlighted that consumers were feeling less confident about house price prospects thanks to worries about the wider economy, which could lead to a further softening in the pace of annual price rises.
In other good news, Zoopla has found that 29% of houses listed on their site have undergone asking price reductions, the size of which has also increased. The average reduction in property asking prices now stands at £25,265, a marked increase from the average of £21,570 recorded in January this year. The north of England was found to be particularly noteworthy in terms of price cuts, with eight out of the 10 areas with the highest proportion of properties with a reduced asking price being situated in this part of the country.
Interestingly, even London has not been immune from price cuts: the borough of Kensington and Chelsea was found to have the highest proportion of cuts in the capital, with 33% of properties in this area having their price brought down.
This is all undoubtedly good news for aspiring homeowners, but how can you take advantage? Well, the easing annual house price rises and the increase in the size of the average house price discount highlight the importance of doing your research and knowing what a competitive price is for the location and property you are looking for. This research also means that, if you feel confident to do so, it may be worth negotiating on price. Who knows, you could get a bargain!
Whether you manage to secure a healthy discount or not, having a competitive mortgage to fund your purchase will help to keep your repayment costs down and mean you get the most for your money. You can search out first-time buyer best buy charts to get an idea of what kind of offers are available, and then once you have a deal secured, you can start house hunting and haggling on the price!
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