Property asking prices fall again
UK property asking prices fell for the second month in a row as the market was hit by over-supply and subdued activity in the summer holidays, according to new research.
Property website Rightmove found sellers slashed prices by 1.7% during the month to August 7, sending the average asking price down by £4,091 to £232,241.
Soaring numbers of sellers outnumbered buyers, with the imbalance in supply and demand compounded as many house-hunters took summer holidays.
Rightmove found available stock per agent rose to its highest August level for three years, up 41.3% on a year earlier to 29,220 a week. It warned market conditions "bear some similarities" to the torrid second half of 2008 when the credit crunch left prices plunging by 7.1% as agents struggling to shift stock.
The news will add to fears of a relapse in the housing market, coming after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) recently said its members reported falling prices for the first time in a year last month.
Rightmove stressed August was one of two months in the year that traditionally see price falls due to the holiday season, while figures showed values were still higher year-on-year, up 4.3%. But the latest monthly fall in prices follows a 0.6% drop in July and marks the biggest slide so far this year.
Ongoing restrictions in the mortgage market are hampering buyers, Rightmove added, causing pent-up demand.
It said while numbers of buyers are dwindling, it saw an all-time high of daily activity on the website earlier this month.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "There needs to be a spur to cause prices to rise. However, as mortgages won't become available to the masses and last year's stock shortages show no sign of reappearing, we can't see it happening during the remainder of 2010."
A regional breakdown of the latest Rightmove data showed the West Midlands saw the biggest fall in asking prices, down 4.4%, followed by London with a 4.1% drop. Prices rose in the North and East Midlands, by 2.6% and 1.5% respectively.