Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Property price drops 'less likely'

Lenders and estate agents reported a rush from first-time buyers to complete deals before the deadline for the stamp duty concession
Lenders and estate agents reported a rush from first-time buyers to complete deals before the deadline for the stamp duty concession

House sellers are less likely to have dropped their asking prices than they were three months ago and are offering smaller discounts, a study has found.

Sellers are holding firm despite the recent withdrawal of a stamp duty concession for first-time buyers and stamp duty hikes at the top end of the market, which both prompted concerns that sellers would be forced to slash their prices, property website Zoopla found.

Around 34% of properties currently for sale have been reduced in price since they were put on the market, down from 37% when a previous study was carried out in February.

The typical sum knocked off the original asking price has also fallen by more than £500 over the same period, taking average reductions to £19,012 or 7.5%.

Nicholas Leeming, business development director for Zoopla.co.uk, said: "The changes to the stamp duty rules significantly increased the cost of buying for many and there were concerns this would quash demand and force sellers to make bigger cuts in their asking prices.

"However, it appears demand has remained strong enough for average discounts to actually fall."

Lenders and estate agents reported a rush from first-time buyers to complete deals before the deadline for the stamp duty concession on properties worth under £250,000, which ended in March. They raised concerns that this would cause a bunching up of sales which would be followed by a dip.

A 7% stamp duty rate on homes worth more than £2 million was recently imposed in the Budget, which also caused fears that this would bring further disruption to an already fragile market.

The biggest percentage discounts are being offered by sellers in Newcastle, according to the survey, with average reductions of 11.1%, or £22,151.

Sellers in Liverpool have also made large concessions, knocking 9.2% (£14,031) off their original asking prices on average.

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