Here's another sign the UK's property market is losing some of its pizzazz. A new study has found three quarters of homes sold for less than their asking price in January. That's 17 percentage points more than during the same period last year.
The January housing market report, by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), also suggested both supply and demand had fallen to 44 properties available per estate agent branch, compared with 45 in December and an average of 47 for the whole of 2014.
Demand fell to a 10-month low, with the number of registered buyers per branch dropping from 360 in December to 353 in January.
And among first-time buyers, 31-40 year-olds accounted for 44 per cent of sales, while 18-30 year-olds made up 39 per cent and over-41s brought up the rear, with 17 per cent.
The housing market was hit last year by the Bank of England's mortgage market review, which imposed lending restrictions on banks, and by reforms to stamp duty, although these largely affected homes worth more than £2m.
Today Mark Hayward, the NAEA's managing director, pointed out that the market is sensitive to changes in consumer confidence.
The housing market is based solely on sentiment and so if consumers feel an ounce of uncertainty; this will result in a temporary lull. With the General Election on its way, we’re starting to see the different political parties stowing up policies around housing, which is undoubtedly causing uncertainty in the property market.