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Buyers negotiate on price to achieve biggest discounts since 2018

More home buyers are negotiating discounts of 5% or more than at any time in the last 5 years.

Words by: Ellie Isaac

Senior Editor

The UK housing market is seeing rising supply and more price discounts than at any time in the last 5 years, putting the power firmly in buyers’ hands.

Our House Price Index for June 2023 shows that 18% more homes were listed for sale in the last 4 weeks than the 5-year average.

This has led to sellers increasingly accepting offers below their asking price. Discounts now average 3.8% and we’re seeing the highest proportion of discounts of 5% or more since 2018.

However, the resilience of home buyers is set to be tested once again as mortgage rates edged towards 6% in recent weeks.

While the impact of the latest rate rises is yet to feed through to our data, our analysis suggests buying power could be hit by up to 20% if mortgage rates settle at 6%.

2 in 5 buyers get 5% or more off the seller’s asking price 

House Price Index June 2023: increase in sales with larger discounts to asking price

A key way we’re seeing a buyers’ market take hold is in the number and size of discounts from sellers.

Home buyers are negotiating on house prices and sellers are now accepting offers at 3.8% below asking price on average.

To put that into perspective, someone listing their house for sale at £250,000 is likely to agree a sale at £240,500.

But many buyers are negotiating harder and achieving even larger discounts.

42% of sellers are accepting offers of 5% or more off their asking price while 1 in 6 are selling at a 10% discount or more.

This is the highest proportion of sellers agreeing discounts of 5% or more since 2018. 

Last year, the average discount was 0% as sellers consistently achieved their asking price.

In 2020, discounts averaged 2.8% while in 2018 buyers could expect to get 3.0% off the asking price.

Here’s how the average 3.8% discount and a 10% discount work out for different property prices.

Asking priceSale price at 3.8% discountSale price at 10% discount
Zoopla House Price Index, June 2023

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Boost in supply of homes for sale and number of sales agreed

Supply trends over the last 4 weeks show why buyers are able to negotiate greater discounts with sellers.

The number of homes for sale is back to pre-pandemic levels. In the last 4 weeks, there were 18% more homes listed for sale than the 5-year average.

This is increasing choice for buyers and giving more room for negotiation on price, particularly as there are fewer buyers in the market.

In turn, the buyers who remain in the market are agreeing 8% more sales than the 5-year average.

House Price Index June 2023: above average sales & supply

Latest mortgage rate rises mean an 11% hit to buying power

Buyers may be enjoying the upper hand, but they also need to brace for a hit to buying affordability in the coming months.

To measure buying power, we look at what size of mortgage buyers can take out at different mortgage rates while keeping their monthly repayments the same.

If you took out a £195,000 mortgage at a 4% interest rate, you could now take out a £174,400 mortgage at a 5% rate to keep your monthly payments the same.

Or, with a 6% mortgage rate, you could take out a £157,000 mortgage with the same monthly repayments.

The chart below illustrates this data, based on a fixed loan amount for a £260,000 property bought with a 25% deposit on a 28-year term.

The longer mortgage rates stay at 5-6%, the more the hit to buying power will result in lower new sales and falling house prices.

This shows the material impact of higher mortgage rates, and how it will limit movement from home buyers despite the increased rate of discounts from sellers.

House Price Index June 2023: higher rates hit buying power by up to 20%

Our House Price Index for June 2023 uses sold prices, mortgage valuations and data for agreed sales up to May 2023. It uses more data than any other to give the most accurate picture of house prices and market trends in the UK.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.