North of England hit worst by house price fall

HOUSE price growth has slowed in Yorkshire, with around one in three homes listed for sale having had its original asking price slashed, new research suggests.

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House price growth has slowed in Yorkshire, with around one in three homes listed for sale having had its original asking price slashed, new research suggests.

Sellers have become more willing to offer a discount at a time when several key market indicators covering price expectations, buyer enquiries, agreed sales and new instructions have all dropped.

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According to property website Zoopla, 32.6 per cent of homes on the market across Britain had been reduced in price by the start of August – and the North of England appears to have taken the brunt of the fall.

Areas of Yorkshire feature prominently in a list of the top ten parts of the country that have seen the highest proportions of asking price reductions.

Almost 45 per cent of homes listed for sale in Huddersfield have been reduced in price – the highest rate anywhere in the country – by an average of 6.7 per cent, or by £14,030.

In Halifax more than 40 per cent of homes on the market have been reduced, on average by 8.3 per cent, or £15,554.

Rotherham has also seen over 40 per cent of sale stock fall in price, and by 7.1 per cent, equating to an average reduction of £10,984. Nationally, the average discount is £25,257.

Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for Zoopla, said the situation, coupled with the recent cut in the Bank of England’s base rate to 0.25 per cent, could present an opportunity for first-time buyers.

He also said the percentage of homes with reduced prices is “not as high as one might have predicted given the EU referendum outcome”.

The supply of new homes coming to the market is at or around record lows in most parts of the UK, according to RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), whose latest UK Residential Market Survey found that 39 per cent of estate agents in Yorkshire reported a fall in new instructions last month and 23 per cent reported a drop in transactions.

The survey found just nine per cent of Yorkshire estate agents saw a rise in local house prices during July and that only 11 per cent of them expect house prices to rise over the next three months.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The housing market is currently balancing a raft of somewhat mixed economic news alongside the latest policy measures announced by the Bank of England, which have already begun to lower the cost of mortgage finance. Against this backdrop, it is not altogether surprising that near-term activity measures remain relatively flat.

“This is a long running story that may have been exacerbated by recent events but clearly needs urgent action from the new government.”

Michael Darwin, of M W Darwin & Sons estate agents in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, added: “The market has continued to slow down; enquiries are well down, even taking into consideration the holiday period. Brexit has affected confidence – people are waiting to see what the full effect will be in the next few months.”