Why a reduced house price isn't necessarily a warning flag

Property Reporter
10th March 2021
For Sale 313

An extended stamp duty holiday and mortgage guarantee from the government has helped to boost homebuyer affordability. And with over 29% of all homes currently listed for sale dropping their prices, homebuyers could be quids in due to a hat-trick of savings.

In addition to the government's help in increasing purchasing affordability, new research by Yes Homebuyers has revealed where across the nation offers the best chance for buyers to purchase a home with a reduced asking price.

The firm looked at how many properties currently listed on the market had reduced in price and therefore offered homebuyers a further bargain and found that across the UK as a whole, 29.2% of all homes listed for sale had dropped in price.

Aberdeen topped the list, with nearly half the home sellers in the area (49.8%) reducing their price expectations while on the market.

This is great news for those looking to buy as with house prices dropping, the stamp duty holiday still in place and now a 5% mortgage deposit it seems almost impossible to not get your foot on the property ladder.

The next best location with regards to house price reduction was Portsmouth, with 38.9% of all stock available seeing a reduction in asking price in current market conditions. Southampton (38.1%) and Oxford (38.0%) followed closely behind as some of the UK’s asking price reduction hotspots.

With many now working from home and looking for more space while doing so, it comes as no surprise to see London also ranks in the top five areas for the most reduced homes. 34.1% of all properties currently listed in the capital have seen a reduction in price during their time listed on the market.

So, where are home sellers sticking firm where the asking price is concerned?

Cities in Scotland and Northern Ireland have seen the least homes reduced in price, with Glasgow seeing the lowest number as just 9.2% of homes for sale see sellers drop their asking price expectations. Edinburgh also ranks low for property stock reductions (11.5%), as does Belfast (17.7%)

It is evident from Yes Homebuyers research that areas with higher property prices are seeing a larger proportion of their stocks reducing in cost. This could be due to the fact that they are listed at an above-average price in the first instance and therefore have the wiggle room to lower these. It may also be that the demand to availability ratio in the areas with the least reductions is higher and so a price reduction is not warranted.

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, commented: “Our research suggests that a reduced asking price isn’t the warning flag many buyers might assume it to be and, in fact, it’s pretty rife across the market.

"While it’s true that those struggling to sell will reduce their price expectations, there are other factors that make it a more common practice.

"First and foremost, estate agents will often, if not always, overvalue a home to win business in an attempt to entice a seller away from the grasp of another agent. Once they’ve then been tied into a sole agency agreement and with little to no interest in the first few weeks, the agent will then suggest lowering the price in order to sell.

"The seller themselves can also influence a reduction in asking price, starting high to chance their arm while also leaving themselves some wiggle room during the negotiation process. However, if this doesn’t have the desired results, they will then start to creep down through the price brackets until they find the sweet spot.

"So for savvy homebuyers hitting the market in the coming months, there’s certainly money to be saved during the purchasing process. That is, of course, if you want to brave the huge market delays that have built up due to heightened demand in the last six months or so.”

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