Poor property sales during summer months due to Olympic effect, say agents

Olympic Games and Queen's Diamond Jubilee affected the UK property market

The London Olympic Games affected the UK’s property market as would be buyers stayed at home to watch sport rather than viewing houses, according to estate agents.

But now the housing market is set to see a busy autumn with agents predicting a Spring like atmosphere.

National estate agent Strutt & Parker said that the summer was quieter than usual for a variety of reasons, most notably the Olympic Games and the Queen’s Jubilee.

The summer of sport is blamed by Rightmove for resulting in property prices falling between August and September in England and Wales.

However, agents believe that buyers who got side tracked during the summer months will now look to conclude sales before Christmas. Strutt & Parker, for example, is expecting the autumn period to be brisker and is already seeing new instructions coming on at all levels.

Ed Church from Strutt & Parker’s Canterbury office believes that whilst new instructions are significant and encouraging for market prospects, however ensuring that the price is right is the only way to a quick sale.

‘The market is hugely price sensitive right now and anything that seems even a tad overpriced will simply not attract the right interest and is unlikely to sell before Christmas,’ he said.

He pointed out that during a tough year people have become more savvy as to how the market is working and as a result don’t want to feel they are paying over the odds for a home.

‘Buyers are really doing their due diligence and looking for a good deal and although some are looking for the ultimate bargain, most are now happy and willing to pay a realistic, decent and fair price,’ he explained.

‘A number of new offers are not necessarily from a long list of new buyers but rather from frustrated purchasers who were looking earlier this year. In fact some of the offers are from purchasers who already viewed the houses, in some cases up to four or five months ago and have come back to try and negotiate,’ he added.

The latest Rightmove index shows that average asking prices were down by 0.6% in August, the third consecutive monthly fall in a row. The average price of a property coming to market this September is virtually unchanged on a year ago at £234,858, up 0.7% and the index also shows that prices have remained much the same since the crash of 2007 when the average price was 235,176, a difference of just 0.1%.

‘Summer sellers have had some very stiff competition, not only from competing sellers chopping their prices but also from the Olympics extravaganza which has been more compelling for many than viewing property.

Property coming to market is £11,000 cheaper than it was three months ago and there will be many hoping that this gives a boost to the autumn selling season if buyers leave their starting blocks in a hurry and join the traditional rush to see in the festive season in a new home,’ said Miles Shipside, housing market analyst at Rightmove.

He pointed out that September 2011 saw sellers increase their prices by 0.7%, so this year’s fall of 0.6% is a marked turnaround in pricing tactics, especially with estate agents keen to attract fresh stock to showcase after a summer holiday slowdown exaggerated by the Olympics and Paralympics.

He added that this year’s extended summer selling recess has perhaps delayed the onset of any autumn flurry which might have pushed up sellers’ pricing confidence.

‘In truth, the state of the housing market is little different now to this time last year, and prices have stagnated as neither buyers or sellers have been forced to change their behaviours in sufficient quantities to stimulate greater activity,’ he explained.

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