Average price tag on a home ‘has fallen by over £5,000 since October’

house price drop

House sellers’ average asking prices are now cheaper than they were a year ago – marking the first time this has happened in seven years.

Across Britain, the average price of newly-marketed property is now 0.2% or £607 lower than it was 12 months ago, Rightmove said.

It is the first year-on-year fall in average asking prices since November 2011, according to Rightmove’s index.

Average asking prices have dropped by over £5,000 in the past month alone – potentially giving some house hunters an early Christmas gift.

In November, the average price tag on a home stood at £302,023 – £5,222 or 1.7% less than the average asking price of £307,245 in October – Rightmove found.

Rightmove house price index
Rightmove shows average house asking prices across Britain (Rightmove/PA)

The website said that while it is usual for sellers’ asking prices to decrease in the run-up to Christmas, it is the largest month-on-month price fall it has seen in any November month since 2012.

It suggested new sellers are pricing more realistically in effort to hold financially stretched buyers’ attention amid Brexit uncertainty.

All nations and regions across Britain saw asking prices fall this month, according to Rightmove’s index.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw the biggest month-on-month price fall, at 2.4%, followed by the South East of England, where asking prices fell by 2.1%.

In London, new sellers’ asking prices fell by 1.7% or £10,793 in November. Rightmove said London generally sees greater seasonal price volatility than elsewhere.

In Scotland, average asking prices are down by 1.3% month-on-month, now averaging £151,209, while in Wales they have fallen by 1.2%, reaching £192,441 on average.

The North East and North West of England saw the smallest month-on-month asking price falls, with average price tags in these regions decreasing by 0.6%.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “New sellers and their agents are reacting to market forces and lowering their pricing aspirations by more and sooner than usual.

“Stretched buyer affordability and the cooling markets in the South and in upper price brackets have combined with the ongoing political uncertainty to change pricing optimism into pricing realism.

“This is a welcome effort by sellers to minimise the usual pre-Christmas market slowdown.

“Some new-to-the-market sellers and their agents have acted early to try to improve the buying mood and avoid the traditional ‘buyer humbug’ dislike of Christmas housing activity.”

Rightmove’s report also quoted the views of Richard Freshwater, director of Cheffins Estate Agents in Cambridge, who said: “Motivated sellers need to ensure that their properties have been priced realistically from the outset.”

He continued: “Those which have been realistically priced and correctly marketed from the off are still seeing large viewing numbers, offers and in some situations, sealed bids.

“The key with price reductions is to drop the price by enough to bring in a new set of buyers within a new bracket.

“The mistake often made by sellers is to reduce the price on consecutive occasions which can have a damaging effect and put buyers off.

“It is much more sensible to significantly reduce to a rounded figure and then bring in higher levels of interest, hopefully to generate competition between buyers.”