The average asking price of homes coming on to the market in England and Wales has fallen since mid June, according to property website Rightmove, with the Brexit vote exaggerating the usual summer slowdown.
The figures, which cover the period between 12 June and 9 July, show that new sellers asked for an average of £307,824 for their homes, a fall of 0.9%, or £2,647, on the previous four weeks.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s director, said the decline was “within the range that we have seen at this time of year since 2010”.
“With the onset of the summer holiday season, new sellers typically price more conservatively and the average drop in the month of July is 0.4% over the last six years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this July’s fall is marginally larger, as political turbulence has a track record of unsettling sentiment,” he said.
The latest monthly snapshot of asking prices, based on properties newly listed on Rightmove’s website, shows that there were decreases in all parts of England and Wales. The biggest drop was in Yorkshire and the Humber, where new sellers were asking for an average of £174,614 – 2.1% less than the previous month. The East Midlands recorded the smallest fall, with the average asking price down by 0.2% at £197,705.
In contrast with recent research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), Rightmove reported that buyer demand was not out of line with previous summer periods. “In the last two weeks post-referendum, compared to 2015, inquiries to agents from buyers are down by 16%,” it said. “However, last year’s figures were boosted by pent-up demand after the surprise general election result”. Buyer inquiries were consistent with the same period in 2014, “which is a more comparable benchmark”, Rightmove said.
Sellers seemed undeterred by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the property website said. Compared with the same period in 2015, it said, in the two weeks before the referendum, the number of new properties coming on to the market fell by 8%, before increasing by 6% in the two weeks after the vote.
The continued imbalance between the number of homes available and the number of would-be buyers meant that estate agents were reporting that inquiries per property remain remarkably resilient.
Mark Manning, the director of Manning Stainton estate agents in Leeds, said: “The political soap opera that has played out following the historic vote to leave the EU, combined with the obvious economic uncertainty should have, for all intents and purposes, spawned a significant alteration in the market.
“Up north, all seems to be well, with new listings in June showing a 7% increase on 2015 and a volume of sales which remained broadly similar to those in previous months.”
Ahead of the referendum, the Treasury had warned of a fall in house prices if the leave campaign won. In the weeks since, estate agents have reported some sales falling through, and some buyers seeking to renegotiate prices down. The latest Rics report showed they were more pessimistic about the short-term outlook for the market than at any point since the late 1990s.
On Thursday, the Bank of England said its forecasts for prices had been adjusted downwards since the vote. The bank also announced that it would not cut the base rate, but falling returns from government bonds have already led to price cuts on fixed-rate mortgages. Recently, Coventry building society launched the lowest 10-year deal, at 2.39%, and other lenders have been reducing five and 10-year rates.
Brian Murphy, the head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said it was too early to tell what the mid to long-term impact of the Brexit vote would be on the housing market. “But with many lenders repricing downwards, particularly on longer-term fixed rate products, buyers continue to be able to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates, which coupled with what looks to be an ongoing lack of supply, may well fortify the market in the months to come,” he said.
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