The latest house price index from Rightmove reveal rising home hunter activity, an increase in properties coming to market, and asking prices going up in all but one region of the UK.
Also, the portal says the contraction in the number of homes being sold in recent months is now losing steam.
Its figures, which are for January, reveal that the average asking price has increased by 0.8% across the UK; that the number of properties coming to market rose by 2%; and that agent stock held steady (see graph, right). Also, the number of homes sold contracted by only -1.6% during January, compared to -5.5% in the final quarter of 2017.
As well as reporting record traffic to its website at 141 million visits last month, Rightmove says the hottest property market is in the Midlands, where asking prices are rising three times faster than the national average.
“The average price of newly-marketed property in the Midlands is up by over 5% compared to a year ago, a marked contrast to parts of London and its commuter belt,” says Rightmove’s Miles Shipside (pictured, left).
“Many buyers in the Midlands are willing and able to pay more to secure their future home in a faster-selling market, resulting in Midlands prices rising three times faster than the national average.”
All this has pushed the UK’s average asking price to over £300,000 for the first time, up by 1.5% compared to the year before, helped by increased activity within the second-stepper market.
But Rightmove says the increase in prices for homes coming on to the market in January is half that of last year’s 1.6% rise, and that agents should be wary of vendors pricing their homes too ambitiously.
London remains in a difficult place. Rightmove’s figures reveal that prices in all but its most outer suburbs continue to drop year-on-year, and that its homes are taking a week and a half longer to sell than the rest of the UK. The average price for a home in London is now £627,591, Rightmove says.
“We have a lot more to be positive about than in previous years,” says Jeremy Dunscombe (pictured, right) of Legal & General Mortgage Club.
“Year-on-year house prices are rising at a far more sustainable rate and couple this with the exemption of Stamp Duty on properties under £300,000 and Government schemes, it is no surprise first-time buyer levels are at an 11 year high.”
Read more Rightmove market commentary.