UK housing market starting to slow, says Zoopla | moneyfacts.co.uk

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Michael Brown

Content Writer
Published: 30/05/2022

While average house prices are still above £250,000, asking prices were cut by 5% or more for one in 20 homes for sale.  

Price reductions for UK properties are on the rise, with one in 20 listed properties reducing their asking price by 5% or more in April to mid-May. By contrast, just one in 22 properties experienced this type of house price cut during the previous month, according to Zoopla, a real estate company.

Buyer demand remains high but there are now signs that the market is softening, and price growth is set to slow,” said Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla.

Indeed, the average price reduction across the UK now sits at 9%. Given that Zoopla has priced the average UK home at £250,200, this reduction equates to around £22,500.

“This signals increased buyer resistance to higher prices, and indicates that even amid high levels of demand, price growth may be hitting a natural ceiling,” Zoopla said in its research.

On the market for longer

Excluding London, the average seller of a three-bedroom house will have to wait 18 days for a buyer. In March, that same seller would have waited 16 days before they received an offer.

“It’s hardly an agonising wait at this stage, but it may well be a sign of things to come,” said Sarah Coles, Senior Personal Finance Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, an investment platform.

This increased waiting time may be the product of rising inflation and the cost of living lessening potential buyers’ finances, Zoopla stated.

“The data also signals that the demand pressure in the market is easing as the economic headwinds – rising inflation and cost of living - start to have an effect among buyers,” it said in its House Price Index.

House prices still increase

Despite this, house prices are still on the rise, increasing 8.4% during the year to the end of April. By comparison, the year to March 2022 registered a 9% increase.

On a monthly basis, UK house prices grew by 0.2% from March to April.

“The annual rate of price growth will ease this year – on a monthly basis, price growth has already moderated,” said Gilmore.

Coles shared a similar sentiment, reasoning that “demand is still vastly outweighing the number of properties on the books”.

“However, over the coming months, we can expect price growth to slow, houses to hang around for longer, and after two years of a scalding hot property market, some of our enthusiasm for a new home will start to cool,” she said.

Outlook for first-time buyers?

The slow-down in property prices will likely come as good news for first-time buyers, suggested Nicky Burridge, Contributing Editor at Zoopla. 

With more sellers reducing their asking price, it could make climbing onto the property ladder more affordable.

“Meanwhile, the number of properties being listed for sale is increasing, offering more choice to potential buyers,” she said.

First-time buyers who are looking for the best mortgage rates should consider using our charts. Otherwise, make sure you read our mortgage round-up every Wednesday which highlights the lowest rates on offer for first-time buyers, remortgage borrowers, and homemovers too.

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