Asking prices 'highest for April'
The gap between the sums that sellers are asking and actual selling prices has also narrowed, indicating that sellers are having to negotiate less and buyers are in a position to pay more, Rightmove found.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Asking prices rose by 2.1% month on month to reach £244,706 on average, which is the highest figure recorded by the research for the month of April and stands just £1,500 below an all-time high set in June 2012.
Rightmove, whose records go back for more than a decade, tipped next month for a new asking price high, as a combination of confidence returning to the market this spring and a shortage of properties for sale continue their upward pressure on prices.
Across England and Wales, London was the only region where asking prices took a dip in April, falling by 0.5%, although at £493,635 on average they are still 6.2% higher than a year ago. East Anglia saw the biggest month-on-month asking price jump, with a 4.4% rise taking typical prices to £224,538.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "With London prices pausing for breath this month but likely to bounce back next, May looks like an odds-on bet to deliver a new asking price record. More estate agents are reporting more activity in more segments of the market."
The year has got off to a promising start for house sellers, with asking prices now £15,717 or 6.9% higher than they were at the start of 2013, following monthly price increases for every month of the year so far. On a year-on-year basis, prices are up by 0.4% and the latest rise follows a new high for asking prices recorded for the month of March which was set last month.
Lenders, estate agents and surveyors have been reporting signs of a pick-up in the housing market since the Government launched a scheme called Funding for Lending last August, which has prompted an increase in mortgage availability. Lenders have also been offering some of their lowest ever mortgage rates.
Rightmove said that while some of the uplift in asking prices has come from a more positive view of the market generally, a shortage of homes coming up for sale is also pushing prices upwards, as buyers compete for fewer fresh properties.
The website said that the run of houses coming to market in April was 4% down on a year ago. Homes are spending around 73 days on the market before they are sold, which is 10 days less than in April 2012. Rightmove said that comparing its asking price figures with the price houses are actually selling for, which is recorded by the Land Registry, the gap has narrowed from 3.39% in December to 2.95%.
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