Sellers cutting average of £25,265 off asking prices, Zoopla finds


House-sellers are starting to slash bigger chunks off their original asking prices, potentially giving buyers more opportunities to negotiate a discount, a property website has found.

The average discount on the original asking price of a property across Britain is now more than £25,000 - an increase of nearly £4,000 compared with the typical discount in January, Zoopla found.

In January, the average discount where the asking price of a property had been reduced was £21,570, but now the typical reduction on a property price is £25,265 - an increase of £3,695.

The findings, taken from properties listed on Zoopla's website, also show that 29% of homes currently listed for sale have had the price cut at least once since the property was first listed.

On April 1, a stamp duty increase came into force for people buying second homes, such as buy-to-let investors. Some reports have suggested that house sales were brought forward which might otherwise have taken place later this year, as investors rushed to beat the stamp duty deadline. 

With demand from investors dying back in April after the tax hike came into force, some sellers may have been encouraged to offer bigger discounts in the hope of agreeing a sale.

Zoopla said eight of the 10 areas with the highest proportion of properties with a reduced asking price are located in the North of England, with almost half of all properties listed in St Helens (43.7%), Hartlepool (42.5%) and Middlesbrough (40%) having been marked down. Also in the top 10 are Haverfordwest in Wales, and Great Yarmouth in East Anglia.

London buyers looking to get a knock-down price may want to head for Barnet - which has the biggest average price discounts across Britain, at 10.8% on average. Particularly big discounts can also be found in Coventry and Salford, the research found. 

Looking just at London, Kensington and Chelsea is the borough with the highest proportion of asking price reductions in the capital. One in three (33%) properties in Kensington and Chelsea have had price markdowns.

And asking prices appear to be holding up well in Wembley and Milton Keynes, which are among the areas with the lowest proportions of homes with price reductions on the market as well as the list of areas with the smallest discounts on offer.  

Meanwhile, prices at the upper end of the property market also appear to be holding firmer than those generally. Less than one in four (24%) homes with an asking price of more than £1 million have been reduced since they were listed, compared with the general average of 29%.

However, among the million pound-plus properties that have been reduced, the average discount on offer is £179,593 - a sum that could buy an average home outright in many parts of the country.

Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for Zoopla, said: "The rise in the average discount to over £25,000 should be welcome news for aspiring home owners looking to get a foot onto the property ladder.

"Despite increasing house prices across the country, there's clearly still space for negotiation."