Britain’s red-hot property market is starting to cool, with more sellers lowering their asking prices and the average time it takes to sell a home longer, according to figures released by property portal Zoopla.
Zoopla said more than 20 homes for sale had their asking prices cut by 9 per cent last month, the highest level of discount in 18 months.
“We’re starting to see signs that things are easing,” said Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Portal.
Nationally, the company forecasts an average price increase of 3% this year, but in parts of the country, “it feels like we’re pushing a natural ceiling. [for house prices]”, she says.
house price Official figures show the UK’s property market has grown by an average of 18% since May 2020, when it reopened after a period of coronavirus lockdown. UK property prices in March make a record £278,000.
In Wales, where prices have risen the fastest, average prices rose by 22% between May 2020 and March this year.
Now in Wales and the south west of England, another area in high demand during the pandemic, discounts are happening fastest, Gilmore said. “It didn’t feel like a coincidence,” she said.
After two years of rapid price increases, buyers are more stretched and now face cost of living crisiswhich is hitting disposable income and rising borrowing costs, with the Bank of England raising its benchmark interest rate four times in six months and is expected to rise further.
As economic outlook dims, sellers aim to move fast Expectations of a slowdown It may even cause house prices to fall.
Despite sellers cutting prices, Zoopla data last month showed the average time it takes to secure a sale has increased. Three-bedroom homes outside London were particularly in demand and remained the fastest selling properties, taking an average of 18 days to sell, up from 16 days in March, according to Zoopla.
Apartments outside London and houses in the capital also took longer to sell. One reason, Zoopla said, is the seasonal nature of the market — spring tends to be a busy time. “But the data also suggests that demand pressures in the market are easing as economic headwinds – inflation and rising cost of living – start to take their toll on buyers,” it added.
Apartments in London bucked the trend.They have been the worst-performing properties during the pandemic, as buyers seek more space and get caught up in ballooning space construction safety crisiswhich has a disproportionate impact on apartments.
Zoopla said the average time to sell a two-bedroom apartment in the city fell from 32 days to 29 days between March and April.
Dominic Agace, chief executive of London-focused estate agent Winkworth, said: “The trend of people leaving the city has slowed and may even reverse.”
He said two-fifths of those who went to the Notting Hill office in Winkworth to find rental properties were London returnees.
“Those who are desperate to find space are now happier near work,” he added.