The traditional autumn property boom is yet to materialise, with house prices stalling and houses taking longer to sell.
That’s based on new data from property portal Rightmove, which implies that between September and October asking prices increased by the lowest amount since 2010.
But does this represent a strategic window for homebuyers?
Here, we take a look at the home price and market data and offer advice on getting a bargain this autumn.
Asking prices up by 1% in September
Autumn is traditionally a very popular time for you to move house, with more than 100,000 transactions dealing with each month between September and November in 2022 – but that may be set to alter this year.
Research by Rightmove shows prices increased by just 1% in September, the cheapest monthly rise at this time of year since 2010.
Overall, the typical national selling price hit lb304,061 in September, up from lb301,973 in August.
The table below shows how asking prices changed in different sectors of the market (excluding inner London). ‘Second steppers’ are those who're making the move from their first property to their second, while ‘the surface of the ladder’ means detached properties with four or even more bedrooms or any property with five or more bedrooms.
|Top of the ladder
House price changes by region
The housing market varies significantly from place to place, so it’s dangerous to attract conclusions from national data.
In the interactive map below, we’ve logged how prices changed round the UK in the last year.
The results reveal that the largest rises were in the West Midlands, where asking prices increased by 5.5% in a year, while both London and East England saw them drop.
If you hover your mouse over a region, you can view month-on-month price changes, average asking prices and also the length of time a property takes to sell in each area.
Is it a great time to buy a house?
It’s worth considering the Rightmove House Price Index looks at asking prices (in line with the properties for auction on its portal) instead of sold prices.
There’s some debate over the size of the space between asking and sold prices, though this year it’s become increasingly clear that few properties actually cost their full selling price. Actually research authored by the National Association of Auctions in March discovered that 86% of properties were sold for less than their selling price, the highest percentage because it started keeping records in 2013.
In further great news for bargain-hunting buyers, there are signs that auctions are now taking longer to sell properties, with the average number of days hitting 61 in September, up from 58 last year.
How to seize a property bargain this autumn
If you’re prepared to buy a home, there are several steps you can take to create yourself stay ahead of everyone else and potentially obtain a bargain:
- Do your research on the property. Before making a deal, find out all you can concerning the property and its seller. Research recent sale prices nearby and find out just how long the property continues to be available on the market and be it price has previously been reduced.
- Don’t trust everything an estate agent tells you. Estate agents work with the seller, not the buyer. With this in mind, take anything they tell you having a pinch of salt. Be also cautious about ‘new’ listings on property portals – the house might have been removed through the agent and re-listed many times to own impression that it’s new available on the market.
- Consider obtaining a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP). If you wish to show you’re a serious buyer and can get the transaction completed quickly, you can get yourself a mortgage agreement in principle from a lender before making a deal. While this agreement isn’t set in stone until you’ve designed a full application, it’ll give you an idea of what you can borrow and supply some reassurance to the seller. Get professional advice from the mortgage broker first, though, as getting an AIP can leave a mark in your credit report which may be problematic whenever you come to trying to get the mortgage itself.
- Make yourself appealing to sellers. Don’t be shy with regards to promoting yourself. If you’ve got your agreement in principle along with a conveyancer and house surveyor lined up, make this clear towards the buyer. Likewise, if you’re chain-free or perhaps a cash buyer, this could help give you the nod over any other bidders.
- Start low together with your offer. Inside a market where prices are slowing down and houses are taking longer to market, the ball is within your court. When sellers set their asking price, they should be prepared to negotiate and get knocked down, so be ready to go in low and haggle to get the best deal. If you’re not comfortable doing this, get somebody to negotiate for you, or maybe the stakes are high, consider employing a buying agent.
Advice on finding the right mortgage
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or perhaps a home mover, it can be difficult to obtain your head round the vast array of mortgage deals currently available on the market.
That’s why it will make sense to speak with a neutral, whole-of-market mortgage broker about your options before rushing in.