Oil prices are surging and the stock market is poised to experience its worst decline in two years.

Buyers are being tempted back to the property market by the biggest discounts on house prices in four years.

Homes are being sold for 4.2pc, or £12,125, below the asking price on average, according to Zoopla, a property website.

In September, discounts reached their highest level since March 2019 following a recent jump in mortgage rates.

The number of buyers rebounded by 12pc in September, but Zoopla said they still retain the upper hand as they refuse to compromise on price.

It remains a buyer’s market, with 80pc more homes available for sale than in September 2021.

The biggest reductions on asking prices are being achieved in London and the South East, at 4.8pc – while in the rest of the UK the rate is 2.8pc, Zoopla said.

Discounts have been on the rise since the summer and are pushing down house prices, which have slipped by 0.5pc in the past year.

Zoopla said this was the first annual drop since 2012, with prices on track to fall 2 to 3pc this year.

Richard Donnell, executive director of research at Zoopla, said: “The modest fall in prices is not enough to improve affordability to a level that will boost activity.

“Falling mortgage rates are the most likely route to improving housing affordability, and bringing buyers back into the market in the next 12-18 months.”

Embattled property giant China Evergrande suspended trading of its shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange sending Asian shares mostly lower.

The halt in trading of the heavily indebted Chinese property developer followed reports that chairman Hui Ka Yan has been taken away earlier this month and placed under police watch.

The Hang Seng index slid 1.2pc to 17,390.50 while the Shanghai Composite was up less than 0.1pc at 3,108.51.

Trading was closed in South Korea for a holiday. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 1.7pc to 31,813.01. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed at 7,029.30.

Oil’s spike to one-year highs – with Brent crude above $87 a barrel – has poured fuel on selling in the bond market and further pumped up the dollar, while global stocks have dropped for nine sessions in a row.

The greenback stands at a 10-month high against a basket of other majors, and 10-year Treasury yields are hovering at a 16-year peak.

Shares finished mixed on Wall Street. After taking several U-turns through the day, the S&P 500 inched up 0.98, or less than 0.1pc, to 4,274.51 and remains near its lowest level since June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 68.61 points, or 0.2pc, to 33,550.27 after earlier bouncing between a gain of 112 points and a loss of 312. The Nasdaq Composite rose 29.24, or 0.2pc, to 13,092.85.