House sellers slash asking prices

For sale signsHouse sellers have cut their asking prices by the biggest amount in the month of July for four years, a study has said.

The 1.7% or £4,138 drop comes amid a summer of "miserable" weather for viewing homes and new sellers coming to market are outnumbering actual sales by two to one, according to property search website Rightmove.

Typical asking prices tumbled to £242,097 in July, the biggest fall for that month since July 2008, although prices are 2.3% higher than they were a year ago. The fall is also the first monthly drop since January and the biggest since December last year.

Strong competition among sellers will make selling a home "challenging" over the summer months, the report warned.

The West Midlands was the only region in England and Wales to record a month-on-month increase in July, with a rise of 2% to reach £191,121.

London, which regularly records stronger price rises than the rest of the country, saw the biggest monthly fall, with a 3.6% drop taking asking prices to £460,304.

However prices in London are still 6.4% higher than they were a year ago, and the English capital recorded the biggest annual rise of all the regions.

The study said sales are running at 56,220 a month on average according to Land Registry figures, while Rightmove, which covers 90% of the market, has seen more than 102,000 homes come on the market in the same period.

This means the number of properties coming to market is around double the number of completed sales, and with the distraction of the Olympics and ongoing economic uncertainty, the market will continue to be tough, the report warned.

The website also said its research has found potential buyers spend just 2.7 seconds looking at a seller's summary advert before deciding whether to investigate further or move on to other properties.

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