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Asking prices fall in June for first time in eight years

Asking prices for UK homes have fallen over the past month as current political uncertainty continues to deter some potential buyers, fresh figures show.

Prices sought by sellers fell by 0.4%, or £1,172, in the four weeks to mid-June, reducing the average asking price to £316,109, down from a peak of £317,281 a month earlier, marking the first drop in June since 2009 at the height of the credit crunch, and the first price fall this year, according to the property website Rightmove.

On an annual basis, the average asking price has now increased by 1.8%, which is the lowest level since April 2013.

However, despite the decline in asking prices, the number of sales agreed by estate agents increased by 7% on average year-on-year. In fact, the volume of sales agreed at this time of year is the second highest for ten years, marginally below the highest level recorded in May 2014.

The northern markets saw an 11% rise in sales agreed year-on-year, which was more than any other region, while there was just a 3% increase in the south of England.

“It now seems certain that we will have continuing political uncertainty, which the housing market traditionally dislikes, and with the first fall in June prices for eight years there is no doubt that the lack of stability is a factor,” said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.

He added: “The price of property coming to the market had increased in June in every year since 2009, so buyer confidence has clearly been affected by inflation outstripping their pay packets and current political events. However, demand is still high and markets in some parts of the country seem to be getting used to coping with instability and are still strong.”

Strong demand from first-time buyers, supported by low borrowing costs, has ensured that properties with two bedrooms or less have seen the greatest level of demand, as reflected by a 3.5% surge in newly-listed prices month-on-month and 5.5% year-on-year.

Shipside continued: “Those at the traditional starter level are brushing aside uncertainty, with demand being fuelled by the ongoing desire for homeownership, government assistance, and mortgage repayments often being cheaper than rent for a similar property.

“Increasing prices in this sector have not been enough to shake off the wish to own your first home, whilst in contrast sectors higher up the ladder with a larger proportion of discretionary movers have seen the greatest recent price wobbles.”

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