House prices have edged lower, industry data released on Monday showed, as sellers look to complete ahead of the traditional Christmas lull.
According to latest Rightmove House Price Index, the price of property coming to market has dropped by an average of 0.6%, or £2,044, to £342,401 in November. That is the largest monthly fall since January, when average prices slid 0.9%. Year-on-year, prices rose 6.3% in November.
Rightmove called the dip a “pre-Christmas price lull” and said buyers now had a “small window of opportunity” ahead of prices likely rising again in the new year.
Across the UK, only the east of England reported a month-on-month rise, up 0.5%. Prices fell everywhere else, with the largest decline – 2.4% – seen in Wales. Prices dipped 0.4% in London.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Despite the soaring property market and consequent shortage of choice for homes for sale for prospective buyers, new sellers have given buyers an early Christmas present by dropping their average asking prices.
“Sellers who come to market this close to the distractions of Christmas often have a pressing reason to sell, so naturally price more attractively. We expect this downward price trend to be relatively short-lived, though sellers who are in a hurry will continue to need to attract buyers for most of December as well.
“There’s a boom in people searching for property on Boxing Day [and] that is likely to push prices higher again, and increase competition from other buyers.”
December is traditionally the quietest month for buyer activity and prices have fallen every November since 2007. However, Rightmove said the number of people browsing properties after Christmas has risen every year, with visits on Boxing Day 2020 ahead 54% on 2019.
Bannister said: “Sellers often wait until January to get their home on the market, but this year agents say that more people are trying to get a head start on making 2022 their year to move by doing a lot of the prep before New Year, including having their home ready to market during the Christmas period.”