Pension reforms to push house prices past record high
Pension reforms to push house prices past record high
Pension reforms to push house prices past record high

Asking prices are close to their all-time high, with the likelihood that the coming pension reforms will lead to new records, according to the latest Rightmove house price index.

The average new seller asking price jumped 1% over the last month, to reach £281,752. That's just £30 below the June 2014 record.

And with pensioners set to turn to buy-to-let with their newly-liberated pension pots, it appears likely that a new record is on the way.

A time for 'granlords'?

From April, many pensioners will - for the first time - have complete freedom over what to do with their pension savings. And there is plenty of evidence that property investment is going to be a popular option for plenty of them.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, pointed out that buy-to-let loan numbers jumped by nearly a quarter in 2014 compared to the previous year, and that is only likely to continue, with first-time buyers likely the ones to suffer.

He explained: "Agents report a high level of interest from new landlords, or 'granlords', who are typically first time, retirement age, buy-to-let investors. With the highest returns for the lowest investment being at the lower end of the market, the first-time buyer property sector will be the greatest recipient of any increase in demand from investors with substantial pension pots.

"Unfortunately flats and terraced houses with two bedrooms or fewer are coming to the market in smaller numbers than the middle and upper tier sectors, so are the least prepared for an up-surge in demand."

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Distraction and uncertainty

Away from the buy-to-let sector, things are a little quieter. The 1% asking price rise is rather muted, the lowest seen at this time of year in three years. As a result the year-on-year rise in asking prices has dropped to 5.4%.

Shipside suggested the "distraction and uncertainty" of the looming election is forcing sellers to price more keenly, but pointed out there is still high demand for "the right property at the right price" with agents reporting that high quality properties are selling well.

He added: "Stunningly attractive long fixed-term mortgage rates are obviously another great boost to positive sentiment."

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