House sellers were forced to cut their asking prices by an average of almost £7,500 in the last month, as the Christmas slowdown came early.
Sellers slashed their asking prices by some 3.2% in the month to mid-November, the biggest monthly drop recorded since December 2007.It means that the average home for sale was reduced from £236,849 to £229,379 – a fall of £7,470.
It marks the fourth month in the last five that a fall in the average asking price has been recorded by Rightmove, and while prices are still up annually, they are fast heading for the zero mark.
October figures showed an annual increase of 2.9% in values; just a month on, that trend has fallen to just 1.3%.
While a slowdown in the mortgage market is always expected in the run up to the festive season, this year's slump has come earlier than usual.
"Both would be buyers and sellers are adopting a 'wait and see' policy until the direction of next year's housing market becomes apparent," said Miles Shipside, director of the property website.
Just over 24,000 new sellers are coming to the market each week, a monthly fall of 9.1%. Furthermore, an unseasonably high number of unsold properties and the longest ever time on the market means sellers face intense competition, especially as buyers seem reluctant to pay the current market prices.
Despite this, potential buyers have been told that a quick move could see them snatch up a property price to be proud of.
"The combination of high unsold stocks, the mortgage famine, a shaky economy and the normal winter slowdown gives an ideal scenario for bargain-hunting buyers," commented Mr Shipside.
"The bleak mid-winter is always the best time to catch desperate sellers, and those buyers who are currently lying in wait may wish to pounce this winter rather than next."
Tempted buyers can kick-start their mid-winter bargain hunt by checking the Moneyfacts.co.uk mortgage Best Buy tables.
They include the best mortgages currently on the market, including offerings from Woolwich, Yorkshire BS and HSBC.
Find the best mortgage rate - Compare best selling mortgages
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