Agents have declared March a buyer’s market after almost nine in ten properties sold for less than asking price, the highest on record.
NAEA Propertymark’s latest Housing Report showed 86% of properties sold for less than the asking price in March, the highest level seen since the trade body started recording such data in 2013.
This is up from 74% in February, while only 10% of properties sold for the original asking price in March, the lowest since records began.
The number of properties on the market hit a five-month high at 40 per branch in March, from 35 in February.
However, the number of house hunters dropped from 309 to 308 over the same period. This figure is down 22% annually from 397 in March 2017.
The report also showed that despite Government boasts that first-time buyers were benefiting from Stamp Duty exemptions, the proportion of sales to this cohort group fell by three percentage points to 26% in March.
The overall number of sales agreed was flat in March at eight.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark said: “A record number of properties sold for less than asking price in March, indicating that buyers have shifted into the power seat.
“This is music to house-hunters’ ears – especially first-time buyers. Although sales to the group have fallen, the fact that the market is moving in the favour of buyers may trigger an upward swing in the number of sales agreed as they’re in a position to negotiate lower prices.
“However, this is a short-term triumph for buyers. Although demand has cooled off over the last few months and created these market conditions, it’s likely to increase again as those holding off on making purchases move to take advantage of these lower prices.
“Ultimately, this means the number of offers accepted below asking price will fall again and the market will swing back in the favour of homeowners. The only thing which will offer a long term solution is more homes to balance the issue of supply and demand.”