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Hike in mortgage costs after mini-budget cuts 20% off buyer demand in October.

First-time buyers pulled back most from purchasing a home after the increase in mortgage costs, according to a report showing a widespread slowdown in the property market.

Figures from the property platform Rightmove show buyer demand fell 20% in October compared with a year ago, as house-hunters put their property searches on hold in response to soaring borrowing costs and rising economic uncertainty.

Rightmove’s monthly house price index showed first-time buyers were the most hesitant, with demand down 26% in October. Demand from “second steppers” hoping to move from their first home was down 17%, while interest among those at the top of the property ladder was down 15%.

However, despite the drop in comparison with last year’s figure, Rightmove said buyer demand was still up 4% on 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.

A slowdown in market activity has led more sellers to reduce their asking prices in attempts to agree quicker sales. In October, 8% of unsold properties on Rightmove were reduced, double the 4% recorded in the same month of 2021.

The era of historically low interest rates is over, which could make way for a more normal market that opens potential opportunities for those who were put off entering the frantic market over the past two years.

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