70% of buyers pay less than the asking price for South East homes

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SEVENTY per cent of buyers in the South East paid less than the asking price of a property in the past 12 months, according to a new survey from property website RightMove.

The new survey found that while new seller asking prices rose by nearly 8% in England and Wales in the past year, when it comes to closing the deal, people are still managing to negotiate under the asking price.

Even in the highly competitive London market, 53% of buyers still paid under the asking price, while nationally, for one in five buyers, the exact asking price was accepted and 7% paid over the asking price.

“These results emphasise that talk of a national housing bubble is unfounded and that although prices are rising, most people continue to make offers in line with what they can afford or what they perceive to be the right value,” says Miles Shipside, Rightmove Director and Housing Market Analyst. “Even in London, over half of buyers found a property and paid under the asking price. While there have been reports of bidding wars and oversubscribed open houses in some pockets of London where stock shortages are an issue, the findings as a whole show that there are still areas where people can negotiate on price.

“Although people are putting in offers under asking price and are still doing so in the current market, from our data we know that the discount from asking to sold price has narrowed,” he adds. “In 2012 properties achieved around 95% of the asking price, and in 2013 this average figure increased to around 97%.

“It’s important to remember that the agent has a professional duty to the seller to get them the best price, and that all local market conditions are different. For example, if you’re looking in a particularly in-demand area you might have to be both willing and able to pay a premium. On the whole, the Mortgage Market Review’s more stringent criteria makes it likely that people will continue to offer less than the asking price, especially if the new rules mean they are offered a lower mortgage than they were expecting.”

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