UK property asking prices up almost 3% month on month

Posted by Property Wire on 16th February 2016

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The price of property coming to the market in the UK increases by a substantial 2.9% or £8,324 in January, hitting a new record of £299,287 and surpassing the record set in October 2015 by over £2,700.

Housing demand is higher than ever as the latest Rightmove report records that traffic to the property portal hits record levels, with visits up nearly 20% year on year in January.

It says that there has been an encouraging 5% uplift in new properties coming to the market compared to same time last year resulting in the highest total number of newly listed properties at this time of year since the 2008 credit crunch.

The firm is also predicting that 2016 will be the year of the first time buyer as Government initiatives and a low interest rate outlook are now aligning when there is more property choice for first time buyers, with a 10% year on year jump in the number of two beds or fewer coming to the market.

‘The new year’s market has hit the ground running in many locations, continuing last year’s momentum and resulting in the price of property coming to the market hitting a new high. Many agents reported high numbers of sales in November and December and properties selling more quickly, so it’s encouraging to see signs of replenishment of property, especially in the first time buyer sector,’ said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.

‘However, in spite of the apparent veneer of market buoyancy, those thinking of putting their property up for sale need to avoid being too optimistic with their initial asking price, as most buyers are still understandably being very selective about their future home,’ he added.

The previous record price high was set in October 2015 but this has now been exceeded by £2,738, pushing the average new seller asking price to £299,287.

Shipside pointed out that a continuing feature of the recovering market over the past few years has been the supply of property coming to market failing to keep pace with demand. There are now signs of fresh supply increasing with the volume of new properties coming to the market is at the highest level since the credit crunch of 2008.

However, he added that it should be noted that this is patchy by region with only four regions above the 5% year on year average uplift, namely London, South East, South West and Yorkshire and the Humber. In the West Midlands new stock is actually down by 0.3% and Wales and the North West have seen an uplift of 1% or less, restricting fresh choice for buyers in these regions.

‘While more properties are coming to market there is little anecdotal evidence of tax shy landlords selling up. It is more likely made up of additional first-time sellers who are either hoping to bag a buy to let investor before the April stamp duty hike, or joining others who are deciding that 2016 is their year to trade up. Those trading up are no doubt encouraged by the stable interest rate outlook reassuringly communicated straight from the Governor’s mouth,’ Shipside explained.

The sector seeing the highest volume of new properties coming to the market is the typical first time buyer property with two bedrooms or fewer, up by 10% this month compared to the same month last year. It is suggested 2016 could be the year of the first-time buyer encouraged by low interest rates, initiatives such as Help to Buy, and buy to let investors facing increasingly adverse taxes.

‘For the second month running the highest increase in supply of homes coming to market is properties with two bedrooms or fewer, typically the target purchase of first time buyers or buy to let investors,’ said Shipside.

‘There is a 10% uplift in new supply compared to the same period in 2015, meaning all regions have more fresh choice in this sector than at this time last year. Regions outperforming the national average with over 10% more newly-marketed homes with two bedrooms or fewer are London, East, South East, South West, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber, and if this trend continues the increased competition among new sellers may help to temper price rises,’ he pointed out.

‘More and more agents are reporting a healthy return in first time buyer numbers, and with the cards increasingly stacked in their favour 2016 could prove to be the year of the first time buyer,’ he added.