Winter Brings Pause to the Housing Market

Winter Brings Pause to the Housing Market

The winter months are traditionally a quieter period in the housing market. During the build-up to Christmas and the start of the New Year, fewer sellers start marketing their properties and the number of buyers declines. However, this year the winter is set to provide a brief pause in the market, with further growth expected at the start of 2015.

In this time, sellers need to do all they can to attract buyers. If properties are marketed in the correct way, highlighting key features such as metal spiral staircases or large extensions, there are still buyers looking to pick up a bargain. However, for many sellers there is a need to reduce the asking price of their property. At this time of year, homes are historically put on the market at a lower level than the previous months.

Valuations Down

Recently released data from the online property portal Rightmove shows that new houses are being marketed at lower prices than those that were first advertised in October. The prices for properties listed in November were 1.7% down on those for the month before. This brought the average asking price down to £267,127.

The number of homes up for sale also fell to a new low for this time of year. On average, agents have just 60 properties up for sale. There was a 15% fall from October’s figures in the number of new listings and a 1% decrease from the same time in 2013.

Market Still Performing Strongly

Even with this seasonal fall in the housing market, the sector is still performing strongly. The annual growth rate up to November was 8.5%, and there have been price rises in eight months across the past year.

This brief dip is seen by experts as just a pause in the growth rate. Since the end of the recession, the property market has continually showed signs of improvement, and it is not anticipated that this will change in the near future. There is still a strong demand for properties across the country, especially those with outstanding features such as metal spiral staircases and extensive gardens. However, buyers at the moment are looking to spend less as prices continue to rise and banks are not prepared to lend as much.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that house prices rose by 12% for the 12 months up to September. This was an increase on August’s figure of 11.7%. Their data indicates that property prices have been rising at their quickest rate on an annual basis since 2007. The information from the ONS takes into account homes that have been bought through mortgages, and it puts the average property price at £272,000.

With this strong background to the property market, the seasonal fall that we traditionally see at this time of the year is not expected to last far into 2015. Buyers and sellers will undoubtedly be quick to enter the market once the New Year arrives.