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House prices slump means buyers can make most of pre-Christmas lull

According to Rightmove’s House Price Index average asking prices fell by just over £2000 in November. The slump in asking prices marks the biggest monthly fall since January presenting buyers with a potential opportunity before the traditional resurgence in the New Year. It follows a period of strong growth with last month’s data finding a ‘full house’ of rising property prices in all regions of the country. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, said: ““Despite the soaring property market and consequent shortage of choice of homes for sale for prospective buyers, new sellers have given buyers an early Christmas present by dropping their average asking prices by 0.6%.

“Sellers who come to market this close to the distractions of Christmas often have a pressing reason to sell, so naturally price more attractively to grab the attention of prospective buyers who may be otherwise occupied.”

December is traditionally the quietest month for buyer activity with many sellers also waiting until the new year to list properties.

However, Mr Bannister explained this year more people were trying to get a head start and have their homes ready to go to market during the Christmas period.

Simon Bradbury, Managing Director at Thomas Morris Sales and Letting said: “Sellers would be wise to use this window of opportunity to begin the process of getting their home on the market now, by getting their property valued and speaking to an agent about marketing activity.

“This, in turn, puts them at the front of the queue, and in a more powerful position to proceed when looking to secure their next home.”

For buyers, the current fall in asking prices could present an opportunity to pick up a bargain as well as being a good time to fix a mortgage with speculation still hanging of future rate rises to come.

This will prove particularly important for buyers whose affordability has become stretched over the last year.

Rightmove also found people were increasingly maintaining house hunting throughout the festive period.

According to their data, the number of people browsing for homes on Rightmove on Boxing Day was 50 percent higher last year than the previous year.

Managing Director of Northfields Estate Agency, Richard Palfreeman commented: “People looking to move to a new home often get caught up with Christmas festivities and pause their search to the New Year, leaving those who are still looking before Christmas able to purchase with less competition.

“We often find in November and December that there are vendors who are motivated to secure a sale, and there are some great bargains to be had for buyers.”

The latest data from Halifax today showed plenty of activity in the property market.

According to the bank’s figures numbers of home-movers for the first half of this year reached the highest levels since 2007, more than doubling compared to the previous year.

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Over 461,000 home moves took place with first-time buyers rising sharply by 74 percent in 2020.

Andrew Asaam, Mortgages Director at Halifax commented: “It is important to recognize the boom in sales was not limited to movers.

“There were more first-time buyers in the first six months of this year, than in the first half of any of the last 10 years.

“Those getting on to the housing ladder accounted for almost half of all mortgage-backed purchases”

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