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Desperate property sellers accepting 20% less than asking price, says Rightmove

17 November 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
There has been a seven per cent year-on-year fall in house prices, but this does not correlate with the offers that estate agents are accepting for properties, which have been slashed 20 per cent, according to the Rightmove House Price Index.

Buyers who are 'cash rich and mortgage ready' will be able to take advantage of falling house prices and the lowest interest rates for more than 50 years by snapping up a bargain, says Rightmove, as increasingly desperate sellers are asking 2.9 per cent less for their properties, month-on-month, and accepting as much as 20 per cent less than last year's asking prices.

The average asking price is now £222,979, down 2.9 per cent on October's figures – a significantly bigger drop than the previous month when it fell by just one per cent – and marks a 7.1 per cent drop compared to last year.

Rightmove has projected just 80,000 new sellers for November, the lowest since its records began in 2002. This time last year the average number of new sellers entering the market each week was 35,000, but this has now fallen to just 20,000, indicating that a growing proportion of would be sellers are choosing not to sell.

The traditional moving season is now drawing to a close as Christmas fast approaches, and those homesellers who are hoping to shift their property this year are realising that they need to make drastic reductions in the asking price to make a sale.

Properties are taking a lot longer to sell, but Rightmove said that sales would go through much more quickly if sellers asked for the price that they were ultimately likely to settle for in the first place.

“Some sellers could avoid months of disillusionment and despair if they started marketing at an asking price a lot closer to where the evidence indicates they are likely to end up." said Miles Shipside, commercial director at Rightmove.

"While average asking prices have fallen by 7.1 per cent over the past year, in most parts of the country you should look to at least double that discount to achieve a sale." he said, while accepting that some sellers will not be willing or able to consider this option, either choosing to wait for the market to improve, or being trapped in their home by the prospect of negative equity.

Those that do lower their asking price, however, "will increase their chances of selling more quickly and could cut out the months of asking price reductions to get to the 'buyer friendly' price that they could have started with." Mr Shipside added.

There has been a slight fall in the number of days it takes for a property to come off the market, from 90 to 87, which would ordinarily be a positive sign that the properties are selling quicker, but in this case is largely due to properties being taken off the market.

Mr Shipside concluded that "All the woes that are currently affecting the property market are compounding each other, making it a tough Christmas for those that have to sell but giving opportunities to those looking to buy" as mortgage rates come down in line with the Bank of England base rate which was cut 1.5 percentage points to three per cent this month.

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