Estate agents ‘blindsided’ by stalling housing market as sellers accept huge discounts

Britain’s housing market has “stalled” as homebuyers struggle to save large deposits and afford sky-high mortgage rates.

Government data released this morning shows that property sales in August were 16 per cent lower than last year. This has resulted in sellers having to reduce the asking price by tens of thousands of pounds as the market contracts.

Estate agents and mortgage brokers have told i that they are usually very busy in September after the summer holidays, but this month, instead, there has been a “market dead drop”.

“I recently spoke to one of of the best, most professional agents I’ve ever worked with and they said this year’s autumn market, which is normally very busy, has not happened,” said Charlie Landin, founder of property website BestAgent.

“This person is 66 years old, they’re a veteran agent who has seen the last two housing market downturns. They are completely blindsided by this one, because it’s so sudden. They rang me up and said there are no viewings and no offers. Homes are just sitting there.”

Neal Hudson, an expert housing market data analyst and founder of Built Place, told i that the market has “stalled” as potential homebuyers were finding it difficult to save big enough deposits and now afford their regular monthly payments thanks to higher rates.

“Large numbers of people were already priced out of the housing market this time last year, but the situation has got worse,” he said.

Although figures show some of the largest house price falls for 14 years, the cost of homes remains at a near-historic high owing to the house price inflation the market experienced in the wake of the first Coronavirus lockdown between spring 2020 and the end of 2022.

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