The average price of a home in the UK topped £250,000 for the first time, but the proportion of sellers dropping their asking price and the time it takes to sell a home has risen, according to Zoopla’s latest market index.
The property company, which bases its monthly report on a combination of sales prices, mortgage ratings and agreed-upon sales data, said the average home cost was £250,200 in April, but the pace of price growth has been slowing.
Annual home price inflation fell to 8.4% from 9% in March, and Zoopla expects it to drop to 3% by the end of the year.
Zobla said the housing market is “still busier than it was before the pandemic,” but there are indications that a slowdown is on the way.
Since the second half of April, she said, about one in 20 properties have received discounts of 5% or more — compared to one in 22 properties the previous month.
Sellers usually wait a little longer to make a sale. Outside London, the average time between announcing a three-bedroom home and the agreed sale rose from 16 days in March to 18 days in April. In London, that average increased from 17 days in March to 21 days in April.
“We expect this metric to continue to rise as the year progresses as buyer demand begins to weaken, influenced by changing sentiment around the cost of living and personal finance,” said Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla.
Vincent Dennington, director of real estate agent John D Wood & Co., said: “We are seeing more and more discounts on property gates, which could be an early sign of a slowdown in the market.
“However, this can also be a sign that things are initially overblown and of no interest to potential buyers; as such, it must be properly adjusted to ensure that the discount generates new interest and ultimately offers bids.”
He added, “Currently, the market is still buoyant enough that if a property is put on the market at a competitive price, there is likely to be a multi-bid scenario, resulting in the final bids being above the target price.”
Price hikes and other increases in the cost of living appear to have had little impact on the housing market so far as all major price indices showed price increases in April.