House sellers expect less as market floods

A FLOOD of properties coming on to the housing market has depressed sellers’ price expectations, with average asking prices rising just 0.7 per cent in May in what is normally a bullish month for vendors, property website Rightmove will say today.

Research by Rightmove has shown that there has been a sharp jump in the amount of unsold stock per estate agent branch, increasing from 68 to 71 in the last month. This flush of competition has caused sellers to reduce their expectations during the spring selling season.

Last May, average asking prices rose by 2.4 per cent and the average May increase over the past decade has been 1.5 per cent, so the more modest monthly increase indicates that sellers are toning down their bullish spring price expectations. As a result the year-on-year increase has dropped to 4.3 per cent from six per cent in April. Rightmove forecast earlier this year that there would be little annual change in property prices by the end of 2010.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said: “Sellers are starting to reduce their pricing expectations to court the fewer buyers who are able to proceed, though the number of buyers who can purchase is too low to bring volume back to the housing market.”

He added: “While sellers don’t appear to be put off, the rising levels of unsold stock indicate that buyers are not as willing or able to act upon their pent-up moving desires.”

Even Greater London market saw asking prices slip back by 0.4 per cent from their April level as sellers reduced their asking prices.