Fewer properties fetch more than asking price as number of house sales increases

Just 3% of properties are being bought for more money than the seller originally wanted

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Fewer homes on the market are being sold for over the asking price, with just 3% of properties being snapped up for more money than the seller originally wanted in May, according to estate agents.

The percentage of properties fetching more was down on April, when 7% of homes went for over the asking price, as well as being the lowest level since October 2016, NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark said.

More than three-quarters (77%) of homes sold for less than the asking price in May, increasing by five percentage points on April.

The number of homes being sold across the UK also increased in May, with an average of 10 sales agreed per estate agency branch, compared with eight in April.

There were also signs of fewer buyers competing with each other, as the average number of house-hunters per estate agency branch fell to 350 in May, from 381 in April.

NAEA Propertymark said the lower number of house-hunters was "unsurprising as political uncertainty ahead of the General Election stalled buyers' plans".

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark said: "As a rule of thumb, periods of political uncertainty impact the way buyers and sellers interact with the housing market.

"In May, it looks like new buyers were stalling their house search until after the election; however, the number of sales agreed per branch increased, meaning the political landscape hasn't deterred all house-hunters.

"Following the result of the General Election, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts over the coming months as summer is peak house-moving season."

UK property hotspots 2017 (according to Zoopla)

UK property hotspots 2017 (according to Zoopla)