A record number of properties in the UK sold for less than their asking prices in November and the traditional end of year slowdown in the property market started early.
The number of properties available to buy in the UK also fell, reaching its lowest level seen since January 2016 but demand has also fallen, the latest research from estate agents also shows.
At the same some the majority of properties, some 85%, sold for less than their asking price in November, the highest levels since records began, according to the survey from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
This is up from 78% in October, and just higher than last November when 84% of properties sold for less than asking price while only 12% of properties sold for their original asking price in November, the lowest on record as well.
Overall the market has slowed considerably, not just due to supply, with demand at its lowest level in over a year and the number of sales agreed per member branch down for the first time since July from eight to seven per branch.
The number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books dropped by 19% from 42 in October, to 34 in November, the lowest number of properties available since January 2016 when 33 properties were available on average per branch.
Demand from house hunters decreased by 5% in November to 333, from 349 in October and the lowest since September 2016, when the same number was recorded.
However, sales to first time buyers increased in November, up to 27% from 22% in October. The NAEA says this is reflective of the higher levels seen in June when 30% of sales were made to this sector.
The survey also reveals that 33% of agents think the Chancellor’s decision to abolish stamp duty for most first time buyers will not do enough to help aspiring home owners get on the housing ladder and a further 20% think it will have no impact on the number entering the market.
Some 54% of agents said they would like to see more affordable housing and 31% would like to see 100% LTV mortgages as a means of boosting sales to first time buyers while 13% believe that discounted surveyor’s costs would encourage more people onto the housing ladder.
‘A record number of properties sold for less than the original asking price last month, but despite this, demand for housing and the number of homes available decreased,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA chief executive.
‘We usually see a slowdown in the property market around Christmas time but our November data shows this happened much earlier this year. It’s clear that more and more potential buyers and sellers have put their plans on hold early so they can start afresh next year,’ he added.