The average price of a UK home has topped £250,000 for the first time, but the proportion of sellers reducing their asking price and the time taken to sell a home have both increased, according to Zoopla’s latest market index.
The property company, which bases its monthly snapshot on a combination of sold prices, mortgage valuations and data for agreed sales, said the average cost of a home hit £250,200 in April, but that the pace of price growth was slowing.
Annual house price inflation was down from 9% in March to 8.4%, and Zoopla said it expected this to fall to 3% by the end of the year.
The housing market is “still much busier than pre-pandemic norms”, but signs are emerging that a slowdown is coming, Zoopla said.
It said that since the second half of April, around one in 20 properties have had price reductions of 5% or more – an increase from one in 22 properties during the previous month.
Sellers were also waiting a little longer typically to achieve a sale. Outside London, the average time between a three-bedroom house being listed for sale and a sale agreed rose from 16 days in March to 18 days in April. In London, this average figure increased from 17 days in March to 21 days in April.
Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said: “We expect that this measure will continue to rise during the rest of the year as buyer demand levels start to fall, punctured by changing sentiment around the cost of living and personal finances.”
Vincent Dennington, director at estate agent John D Wood & Co, said: “We are starting to see more and more price reductions on property portals, which is perhaps an early indication that the market is slowing down.
“However, this may also be a sign that properties have been initially overpriced and are not achieving any interest from potential buyers; therefore needing to be adjusted correctly to ensure a reduction generates new interest and ultimately offers.”
He added: “Currently, the market remains buoyant enough that should a property come to market competitively priced, it is likely to create a multi-bid scenario, resulting in final offers going over the guide price.”
Interest rate rises and increases in other living costs so far seem to have had little impact on the housing market, with all of the main price indices showing price rises in April.