One in four sellers is offering 10% off the asking price at the moment, property website Zoopla found, and are accepting an average discount of £18,000. This rises to £25,000 in London and the South East, although the reduction is smaller across the rest of the UK at £11,000.
This places buyers in a much stronger negotiating position, and should help with affordability, which many buyers have struggled with in recent months thanks to steeper mortgage rates.
Richard Donnell, director of research at Zoopla, said “Over the course of 2023, sellers have been accepting ever larger discounts to the asking price to agree a sale, In the first six months of 2023, those discounts averaged out at 3.4% off the asking price. This month, the average discount recorded is 5.5%, or £18,000. That’s the largest level of discounting seen since 2018.”
Property choice widensBuyers also have a much wider choice of properties to pick from, with Zoopla reporting that there is now a record number of homes available for sale. The most in demand properties are three and four bedroom houses, the supply of which has grown substantially over the past couple of years.
“The average estate agency branch has 31 homes for sale, compared to a low of just 14 in the middle of the pandemic boom,” said Mr Donnell. “This is boosting choice amongst would-be buyers and providing them with much greater negotiating power with sellers as they agree pricing.”
However, according to the website the number of properties for sale is likely to decline as we approach Christmas, with some buyers planning on relaunching their homes in the New Year.
Despite this, it will remain a buyers’ market next year, Zoopla said, with no increase in house prices expected in the foreseeable future. Its most recent house price data shows that property prices have fallen by 1.2% compared to a year ago, with the average house price in the UK currently costing £264,600.
The biggest price falls are in Sothern England where supply is growing but demand is slowing. Prices are expected to continue to fall into next year, but if mortgage rates come down, this could boost market activity.