The December house price stats are in – Here are our main takeaways…
As Christmas approaches, activity in the housing market slows as the distractions of Christmas take hold. With none but the most committed of buyers being active between now and Christmas Day. Generally speaking, anyone looking to secure a sale this side of Christmas would need to be prepared to negotiate, with most buyers looking for a good deal at this time of year.
New property coming on to the market during December has seen a further reduction in average asking price nationally at 1.5%. This is to be expected at this time of year with asking prices for new property coming on to the market generally slipping between the start and the end of December.
Whilst the movement in asking prices is a little lower than usual, there is good news in the fact that transaction numbers are staying resilient. The reduction in prices of new to market property is likely to lead to increased transactions into the new year.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments:
“It’s usual for new-to-the-market sellers to price lower in the run-up to Christmas to tempt distracted buyers, so we should not read too much into the mere fact of two consecutive monthly falls…
…With stretched affordability limiting some people’s ability to buy for the first time or trade up, a modest lowering of property prices combined with an increase in wage growth could help more of them to move and thus increase transaction numbers.”
As we have commented previously in our blog, those sellers who want to secure a sale early in the new year should seriously consider getting ready to market now. The number of buyers active in the market does slow down this side of Christmas, with those buyers who are still looking taking advantage of this and attempting to negotiate a hard bargain for a pre-Christmas sale, however, post Boxing Day, the numbers of people looking for a new home traditionally increase dramatically again.
Again, from Rightmove’s Miles Shipside:
“The window of maximum buyer negotiating opportunity starts to close from Boxing Day onwards, as more buyers become active in the market. From the low point on Christmas Day, the number of pages of property viewed on Rightmove last year more than tripled (+ 228 % ) by the first working day of the New Year. Home owners who are thinking of coming to the market early in 2019 should seriously consider doing so as soon as possible to get maximum exposure to the surge in interest from buyers who make it their resolution to move in the New Year.”