A post-election bounce is responsible for the largest rise in new asking prices ever recorded at this time of year, Rightmove reports this morning.
The portal says that new asking prices rose 2.3%, equating to an average of +£6,785, in the period between December 8 and January 11.
Nearly 65,000 properties were marketed in that time, and most of them came to market after the December 12 election.
Rightmove said: “It would appear that many of these new sellers are feeling a surge of optimism.
“Buyers are also optimistic, with a jump in demand since the election. In the period immediately after the election, enquiries to estate agents were up by 15% compared to the same period a year ago. This then led to a 7.4% increase in the number of sales agreed over the same period.”
Rightmove also says that first-time buyers are facing asking prices nearing £200,000 with the average new asking price of a two-bedroom or smaller property now £193,103.
Rightmove started its house price index in 2002 and the latest asking price bounce is the highest at this time of year since 2.2% five years ago, in January 2015.
Rightmove, which is now recording an average asking price for property new to the market of £306,810, says that over 1.3m buyer inquiries have been received by agents via Rightmove since the election, up 15% on a year ago, pointing to a potentially busy spring market, particularly if supply also rises.
Director Miles Shipside said: “Whilst a substantial rise is the norm in January, buoyed by the start of a new year, this is the biggest new year price surge that we have ever recorded.
“However it is still a price-sensitive market, with stretched buyer affordability, so sellers should be careful not to get carried away with their pricing.
“One factor behind the upwards price pressure has been the shortage of property coming to market in many areas of the country, with some would-be sellers postponing their moves until they judge the outlook to be more certain.
“While there may well be more twists and turns to come in the Brexit saga, there is now an opportunity for sellers to get their property on the market for a spring move unaffected by Brexit deadlines.”
Today’s Rightmove survey quotes two agents – Manning Stainton in Yorkshire, and Benham & Reeves in London. Both say they have seen a substantial rise in activity.
Mark Manning said that last month his firm sold more properties than in any December since 2004, and that it is seeing a 15% rise in home owners looking to sell.
Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham & Reeves, said: “Things usually quieten down before Christmas, but we had three times the number of offers in the last two weeks of December than the first two weeks.
“People have been waiting for stability, and the moment it arrived, confidence in the market has increased significantly.”
- Separately, property network firm LonRes is suggesting that the recovery in prime central London started in the last quarter of last year – before the election. It says that transactions were up 34% on the same quarter in 2018 and that price discounts were at their lowest level for over two years. However, Lonres says that new instructions fell over the period, and were 2% down on the last quarter of 2018.