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Property asking prices up 4.5% in March says Rightmove

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Wed 21 Mar 2018

Property asking prices up 4.5% in March says Rightmove

Property asking prices jumped by more than £4,500 in March as buyers face up to a lack of supply resulting in sellers ramping up what they are listing homes for.

The average asking price of a newly-marketed home reached £304,504 across Britain in the last month – an increase of 1.5 per cent compared with previous month, Rightmove said.

This is the biggest monthly bounce for more than a year and comes after a 2.3 per cent dip in December.

High demand and limited supply in parts of the country mean that the average asking price is at its highest ever level in four out of 11 regions.

The average price of newly-marketed property has hit all-time highs in both the East (£217,952) and West Midlands (£219,941), and also in Wales (£187,739) and the North West (£189,900).

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: 'Many buyers entering the traditionally busy spring market this year face paying more than ever for their target property, and having a more limited choice.'

Price rises are in part being driven by a decrease in supply as the market enters a traditionally busy phase, the study suggests.

Rightmove measured 112,693 properties coming to market in the last four weeks, down by 5.2 per cent on the same period a year ago.

It said some of this decrease will be due to the heavy snow delaying some agents and sellers from bringing properties to market.

The average price tag on typical first-time and second-time buyer homes also hit new highs - of £189,840 and £272,031 respectively.

First-time-buyer properties are defined by the study as having two bedrooms or fewer.

Homes targeted by people taking their second step on the property ladder have three or four bedrooms, excluding four-bedroom detached properties.

Mr Shipside suggested the upwards price pressure is also being partly driven by first-time buyers benefiting from recently-introduced stamp duty relief, who are keen to purchase before the savings they are making are swallowed up by price rises.

There is also a sense of urgency to buy amid speculation that another interest rate rise from the Bank of England is on the cards soon.

He added: 'Buyers who apply for a mortgage before interest rates rise should be able to borrow more cheaply.'

Mr Shipside said there is 'upwards price pressure in the lower and middle market sectors with both first-time buyer and second-stepper properties at new national record price highs'.

He added: 'The first two months of 2018 saw Rightmove traffic at its highest ever levels, and this demand appears to be now feeding through to fuel the substantial £4,503 jump in average new seller asking prices this month.'

Mr Shipside said that while there is 'potential price headroom' in parts of the country, such as in northern regions and in the more mass market sectors where demand is strong, sellers need to bear in mind that the more they increase their prices, the more buyers will hit their ceiling of what they can afford to pay.

He said: 'Sooner or later higher prices tend to mean fewer people can afford to move.'

Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: 'The report provides us with an in-depth view of asking prices and consumer activity with regards the property market, rather than data on completed transactions.

'It provides us with an up to date "coal-face" view rather than a historical one.'

'Based on today's insights, it would seem that after a steady start to the year, pent up demand has now meant that asking prices in certain regions have escalated to the realms of never-seen before highs, bringing with them a whiff of the fizzy market last witnessed in 2007.'

The struggle to take that second step on the property ladder has also been laid bare in a report by Nationwide Building Society.

Its data suggests one in seven home owners planning to take their second step on the property ladder will rely on cash from family members to help them make the jump.

It highlights that the help needed from the Bank of Mum and Dad stretches beyond buying a first home.

Some 14 per cent of second steppers, typically looking for a family home, plan to borrow money from family to support their next move up the property ladder.

The survey found 85 per cent of second steppers say they would have to make some sort of sacrifice to be able to move up the housing ladder, which could include changing jobs, lifestyles or delaying plans to get married or start a family.

The majority of second steppers want to move to a detached home, the survey found.

Henry Jordan, director of mortgages at Nationwide, said: 'There is a great deal of focus on the difficulties facing first-time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder but, as the research shows, second-time buyers are facing a variety of difficult challenges of their own.

'Many are having to make compromises in terms of size or location of their new home, or make spending cutbacks and personal sacrifices to move and avoid becoming stuck in a property that isn't appropriate for their changing needs.'


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