Property industry reacts to Rightmove House Price Index

property-industry-reacts-to-rightmove-house-price-index

There are growing signs that UK housing market conditions are improving, with the positive start to the year continuing to pave the way for a greater number of home purchases than last year, new data from Rightmove has revealed this morning.

With average asking prices still £4,776 below the May 2023 peak, more people are seeing a window of opportunity to buy, which has resulted in greater demand from purchasers, which in turn is starting to push prices up once more.

The average asking price of newly marketed properties is up 1.5%, or £5,279 this month, to £368,118.

Attractively priced properties are quickly being cherry-picked, but over-optimistically priced sellers are taking longer to find a buyer.

Industry reactions:

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, commented: “Following three years of economic turmoil, Propertymark is hopeful that we are now witnessing a positive trend towards increased prosperity in the housing market. For months, people have taken a hit on their property prices in order to find an affordable middle ground to enable a home move.

“Now that balance is being better struck and with interest rates remaining stable, we are seeing signs of normality and strong overall indicators now is an attractive time to buy or sell property. Our member agents have reported an 80 per cent increase in the number of new properties available and a 129 per cent increase in the number of market appraisals undertaken, showing there is growing appetite amongst buyers and sellers alike.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent, said: “Although these are asking or aspirational prices, rather than selling prices of new listings, this data reflects some interesting market trends, which we’ve also seen on the ground.

“More listings mean buyers are often spoilt for choice, so are not rushing to take the plunge. Some were holding back from making offers in expectation of Budget giveaways or further mortgage rate cuts which have not really materialised.

“On the other hand, as the market remains price sensitive, with only realistically-priced property attracting attention. Those sellers who appreciate that if they receive enquiries in the early days of marketing, they are much more likely to find a buyer, are taking most advantage of increased demand.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, remarked: “Sellers appear much more confident than they have for some time, with more stock coming to market and stronger asking prices on the back of hopes that interest rates have peaked and will start coming down soon, as inflation continues to fall.

“However, the Budget was disappointing with a lack of incentives to boost the market and transactions. Perhaps the government is keeping its powder dry for later in the year and closer to a general election when it might take some action, such as reducing stamp duty.

“Although confidence is stronger, vendors must still be mindful that they need to price correctly in order to encourage buyers. Buyers are still concerned about affordability, especially as mortgage rates have edged upwards again and everyone has to get used to higher borrowing costs.”

Adam Feather, managing director of Robert Anthony Estate Agents, said: “Although UK housing market conditions are undoubtedly improving, prospective sellers must remain realistic when it comes to asking prices.

“Aside from a degree of pre-election jitters, the cost-of-living crisis is still having a major impact on people across the UK, mortgage rates remain elevated, while purchasers currently have more choice of property for sale. Buyer confidence may have improved, but it has not fully recovered from the recent economic and political turmoil seen in this country.

Matt Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, commented: “In March, the property market witnessed steady demand from buyers although some house hunters decided to pause their search in the hope for major incentives to be announced in the Spring Budget. As this wasn’t the case, the majority of these buyers have since begun resuming their property search. As a result, we expect for March to conclude the first quarter of the year with a busy property market – particularly in the capital where demand continues to outstrip supply.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, added: “While Base Rate holds have certainly helped to stabilise the market, high mortgage rates have continued to limit buyer purchasing power across the capital, with London home to the highest average house price of all regions.

“But while mortgage affordability remains an issue, it certainly hasn’t dampened the appetite of London buyers and we’ve continued to see a high level of activity at all price thresholds, but particularly across the super-prime market. Buyers at the very top end of the ladder are acting with great confidence, with the higher cost of borrowing not presenting the same obstacle as the average homeowner.

“As a result, we’re seeing high demand for super-prime stock and many more buyers circling due to a more constrained supply of suitable properties in this sector.”

Property asking prices rise for third consecutive month, says Rightmove

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