London leads July drop-off in house prices

Ben Southwood
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<a href="/house-prices">House prices</a> dived in July, after a double hit from bad weather and sporting distractions, according to Rightmove’s July House Price Index released today.

The average property asking price was £242,097 in July, 1.7 per cent lower than the £246,235 recorded in June. However this average was still 2.3 per cent up on the year, and 97 per cent above the prices recorded back in January 2002.

“Those keen to sell this summer have the challenging confluence of miserable viewing weather, the continuing credit-crunch, plus a sporting distraction of Olympic proportions,” said Rightmove’s director Miles Shipside.

A shock revelation was that Greater London actually led the decline, with a 3.6 per cent fall on the month – though prices are still 6.4 per cent up compared to last year.

While new listings over the last year were on average 102,121 a month, average sales completions were just above half that, at 56,220 a month. Stock levels have grown for five consecutive months, so that there are now 75 unsold properties per estate agent.

“Even though the supply of new properties remains constrained compared to pre-credit-crunch levels, seller levels substantially outnumber those of buyers,” Shipside went on to say.

The report also revealed that buyers spend minimal time looking at summary adverts before deciding whether to follow them up or move on.

“As a seller your property advert has less than three seconds to make a positive impression with a potential buyer,” Shipside warned, “Making an immediate impression is more important than ever, and this means finding the perfect combination of attractive price, compelling photographs and alluring description.”

The data comes from 107,915 asking prices, representing about 90 per cent of the UK market, put on Rightmove’s website by estate agents between 10 June and 7 July.