The latest house price report from Rightmove found prices dropping by 1% for September, a change from the 2.3% drop recorded in August and the year-on-year fall of 3.3%. The report also found sellers trimming asking prices further and new estate agent listings thin on the ground.

The changes to stamp duty introduced by the Government appear to have had little effect on kickstarting the market, as Rightmove found the number of properties on market below £175k only increased by 0.5% in spite of a stamp duty freeze on properties in this bracket.

The report also noted that nearly 100,000 owners of stale properties which have been on the market since before the introduction of HIPs need to either invest in an Energy Performance Certificate by October 1st and get aggressive about selling, or take their house off the market.

Miles Shipside from Rightmove commented: ‘There’s a baseline level of activity from those that have to sell, but beyond that, discretionary sellers are increasingly scarce. While this market provides a good opportunity to trade up, it requires a degree of bravery in the face of the ongoing turmoil in the financial markets.’

‘One of the first indications of recovery will be when the backlog of unsold property consistently begins to fall. The current slowdown in new sellers prevents a flooding of the market, but whilst the number of properties for sale is a factor, it is the motivation of the sellers and the speed of sale that drive price falls.

‘Bargain hunters, especially investors taking a longer term view, are scouring the market looking for the best investment returns. Reaching and finding these few buyers who are able to proceed is becoming increasingly important for estate agents’ survival, as the recovery timescales for a resumption of traditional volumes of mortgage lending remain uncertain with the ongoing upheavals within the financial sector.’