'Penny finally drops' as home sellers slash the asking price
House sellers in the South West have dropped their average asking prices by the largest cash amount for almost four years, according to a new report.
The number of new people putting their home on the market has also shrunk to when the global credit crisis hit in 2008.
A study by property website Rightmove revealed all regions in England and Wales showed monthly price falls, the first time this has happened in more than three years.
Richard Copus, an estate agent and spokesman for the National Association of Estate Agents in Devon, said sellers were finally "being sensible" about house prices.
He said: "The penny is finally dropping for a lot of homeowners that they are not going to get the sort of prices they're asking for, which frankly have been over-valued.
"We took on a two-bedroomed cottage in Buckfastleigh that had been with another estate agent for nine months at £165,000 and hadn't shifted. We priced it at £159,500 and it went in no time for £159,000."
He added that prices "should be stable" for the next three to four years.
Tumbling figures have prompted suggestions that landlords are snapping up winter bargains to take advantage of the current rental boom.
Across the country homes went on the market for an average of £232,144 in November, a 3.1 per cent fall on last month's prices, as confidence dwindled following the eurozone crisis and people continued to see their incomes squeezed due to high inflation.
The typical drop of £7,528 from October's prices was the biggest monthly fall in monetary terms since December 2007, although the figure was still up by 1.2 per cent on the same time last year.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "There is a nationwide consensus that the balance of power tips further still against sellers.
"Findings from our consumer confidence survey for the fourth quarter show that 70 per cent of home-movers feel that it is currently a bad time to sell. Interestingly, they also hold the view that sellers' travails give buyers much-improved negotiating power, with 61 per cent stating they felt it was currently a good time to buy."
The drop has been compounded by a lack of fresh sellers coming to the market, indicating the seasonal slowdown has come early, the monthly house price index found.
New listings were down by 11 per cent compared with the same time last year and the weekly rate of 21,375 properties coming to market is the lowest recorded since the depressed period affected by global financial difficulties.
Rightmove said the prospect of winter bargain opportunities had seen many agents reporting increases in buyer activity from investors.
The rental sector has soared as "trapped renters" have struggled to raise the cash for a deposit which would enable them to climb on to the property ladder and lenders have increased their products for landlords in the buy-to-let market.