Looming election deters sellers but cheaper prices tempt buyersThe price of property coming to market falls by 1.3% (-£3,904) this month, and while drops are usual at this time of year it suggests opportunities for buyers to find a winter bargain 14.9% fewer new sellers than in the same period a year ago, deterred by lacklustre price growth and political uncertainty, the largest year-on-year slump in any month since August 2009 In contrast, the number of sales agreed falls by just 2.9% compared to this time last year: Larger properties (four bedrooms or more) are the most active sector, with just 1.4% fewer sales agreed compared to 2018, as buyers benefit from prices 1.2% cheaper than last year OverviewThe price of property coming to market falls by 1.3% (-£3,904) this month, while the number of new sellers drops by nearly 15%. Would-be sellers are not only faced with the usual lower asking prices in the run-up to Christmas, but also a unique autumn combination of a Brexit deadline followed by a looming general election. These circumstances have proved to be a negative factor for thousands of prospective sellers, who have postponed their marketing plans. In contrast, there is positive news for buyers with new seller asking prices 1.3% cheaper than last month and virtually flat year-on-year, a portent of winter bargain-hunting opportunities. The number of sales agreed remains resilient, just 2.9% lower than a year ago, suggesting that there are still many buyers in the market to take advantage of those opportunities.Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “I've seen lots of unusual events affecting the property market in my 40-year career, but a Brexit deadline followed by a snap general election six weeks later is obviously a new combination for me and for many thousands of buyers and sellers. Elections normally dampen activity as uncertainty causes a degree of hesitation, but this one is being called to try to break the deadlock after three years of uncertainty. A more certain outlook, whatever it may be, would be a welcome change for those who are contemplating moving.”14.9% fewer properties have come to market this month compared to the same period a year ago. It is possible that some would-be sellers, who unlike most first-time buyers will be liable for stamp duty on their onward purchase, may be waiting to see if whoever wins the election goes on to reform stamp duty and thus reduce their cost of moving. This is the largest year-on-year slump in new seller numbers in any month since August 2009. If this reluctance to sell continues into next year's spring selling season, the lack of new sellers will have knock-on effects throughout 2020, potentially reducing housing market activity. In contrast, the number of sales agreed nationally has fallen by just 2.9% compared to this time last year, and two regions are up on last year, the North East (+4.2%) and Scotland (+2.2%).Shipside notes: “Our monthly poll of the housing market shows a clear swing towards hesitation for prospective sellers, leading to buyers losing the extra choice that thousands more newly-marketed properties would bring. In spite of this, buyers are continuing with their purchasing plans, with the number of sales agreed only marginally down on a year ago. Many buyers are getting on with their lives and making the most of the better negotiating opportunities that the distractions of electioneering and the seasonal slowdown in the run-up to Christmas can bring.”Larger properties (detached houses with four bedrooms, and all types with five or more bedrooms) are the most active sales sector at present, with the number of sales agreed just 1.4% down compared to last year, a sign that demand from buyers due to changes in everyday life like the need for more space carries on. Buyers in this upper-end bracket are also benefitting from new seller asking prices 1.2% cheaper than a year ago.