Property prices have fallen over the past two months in the biggest drop since 2012, according to a national property website.
Rightmove’s latest house price index out this morning (December 17) found the price of property coming to market dropped by 1.5 percentage points in December, down a monetary value of -£4,496 on November's average house price.
After a second consecutive monthly fall, average new seller asking prices now sit at 3.2 percentage points lower than two months ago, at a decrease of almost £10,000 and the biggest drop recorded by the website since 2012.
Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, said it was normal for new-to-the-market sellers to price their property lower in the run-up to Christmas to tempt distracted buyers, so two consecutive monthly falls should not be over-analysed.
He said: "However, these falls have been larger than usual, making this the largest fall over two months for six years, showing that there are more than just seasonal forces at play.
"With stretched affordability limiting some people's ability to buy for the first time or trade up, a modest lowering of property prices combined with an increase in wage growth could help more of them to move and thus increase transaction numbers."
The Rightmove index also found the number of sales agreed to be down 2.1 per cent compared with the same period last year, a figure a Rightmove spokesperson said was "relatively marginal" considering current market headwinds.
Mr Shipside added: "The run-up to Christmas can be one of the best times for buyers to negotiate a better deal, as they are fewer in number so sellers who are keen to sell have to talk turkey on accepting a lower price.
"The window of maximum buyer negotiating opportunity starts to close from Boxing Day onwards, as more buyers become active in the market.
"From the low point on Christmas Day, the number of pages of property viewed on Rightmove last year more than tripled, at 228 percentage points, by the first working day of the New Year."
Nick Leeming, chairman of estate agent Jackson-Stops, said he expected the 2019 property market to get off to a slow start while the UK awaits clarity on Brexit negotiations.
He said: "However, despite the market not being as buoyant as it was a few years ago, accurately priced homes will still sell so it is interesting to see signs of vendors starting to recognise this in Rightmove’s latest data.
"Over the last year there has generally been a mismatch between vendor expectations and the price that buyers are prepared to pay, particularly at the top end of the market, so properties launching now at a competitive value will stand out and attract buyers’ interest.
"In my experience the first working day after the New Year break is one of the busiest days for property portals, so for those looking for their home to be front and centre of the property parade this is a crucial time for marketing."