By Claire West

New sellers have failed to raise their asking prices in the month of May for the first time in 11 years according to Rightmove.

The average asking price of property coming to the market remains virtually unchanged at £243,759, up just £22 (+0%) on last month.

This indicates that the market is losing its traditional spring momentum earlier than usual, with the expiry of the first-time buyer stamp duty exemption a significant driver. Overall market volumes look set to remain subdued in 2012 as the motivation of new sellers to come to market has stalled too,with new listing numbers down by nearly 10% in May compared to April.

It is a cause for concern that the market appears to have lost its spring momentum, as there is likely to be a longer than normal summer slowdown too thanks to the extra distractions of the Jubilee and two major sporting events.
New research from Rightmove also shows that those wanting to trade up are outnumbered by those looking to trade down.

This market mismatch has its roots in age demographics and the baby boomer generation’s changing housing needs.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove comments: “New sellers asking more in May had become the norm, so it comes as quite a shock to see prices flat at this time of year. Perhaps the first-time buyer stamp duty holiday, and the knock-on activity it helped to create, has concertinaed the market’s
stronger than expected early spring momentum into the first four months of the year rather than the usual six.

The high rainfall in May will have been a further factor in dampening prospective buyers’ enthusiasm to get out and view property, and even if the forecast picks up we have a summer of sport
and celebration ahead that will provide further distractions.”