Gap between asking and selling prices narrows

In a huge contrast to last year, the majority of property surveyors – 60% – are now reporting that the gap between asking and selling prices is now narrowing. UK houses are now selling at an average of 11% less that then asking price according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), although sellers in some regions have been forced to accept as much as 26% off the asking price.

The North still seems to be the worst affected region, the report says, where vendors are accepting just 74% of asking prices although results in the North West are slightly improved.

Since new buyer enquiries and price expectations are strongest in London, no wonder that vendors are now achieving 93% of the asking price, with 55% of surveyors saying the gap has narrowed in the past three months.

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Scotland remains the least affected region, with selling prices reaching on average 97% of asking price with 75% of surveyors finding the gap further narrowing.

Senior RICS economist Brigid O’Leary said: ‘The improvement in sentiment in recent housing market surveys is reflected in a narrowing in the gap between asking and selling prices. This is particularly interesting given that reports from Rightmove suggest that asking prices have been relatively stable since February.

‘While the pace of the downturn may be easing, the housing market will still be challenged by an uncertain economic backdrop, the threat of rising unemployment and continued restrictions on mortgage finance.’

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