‘Bored of Brexit’ house hunters see property prices jump in April

The average asking price on a home jumped by nearly £3,500 in April – marking the biggest month-on-month uplift in over a year – according to a property website.

Across Britain, the average price of new-to-the-market properties increased by an average of 1.1% or £3,447 in April, Rightmove said.

It was the biggest month-on-month increase since March 2018.

Estate agents said that “bored of Brexit” home buyers and sellers cannot keep putting their lives on hold and want to get on with moving.

The average asking price on a home is now £305,449 – which is still 0.1% lower than a year ago despite the spring bounce in April.

Rightmove said it is usual to see prices increase at this time of year, but this is still the biggest increase seen for the month of April since 2016.

Rightmove house price index
Rightmove house price index

But it said the uncertain political backdrop continues to hold back the market, with new seller asking prices, the number of properties coming to market and the number of sales agreed all below this time last year.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said: “The rise in new seller asking prices reflects growing activity as the market builds momentum, egged on by the arrival of Easter.

“Some sectors of the market and some parts of the country have strong buyer demand and a lack of suitable supply.

“However, on average, properties are still coming to the market at slightly lower prices than a year ago.

“It’s one of the most price-sensitive markets that we’ve seen for years, with buyers understandably looking for value or for homes with extra quality and appeal that suit their needs.”

Rightmove said family homes with three and four bedroom properties, but excluding four bedroom detached homes, are currently holding their value particularly well.

These properties are coming to the market at asking prices 0.7% on average higher than a year ago.

Owners of this type of property are also slightly more willing to come to market, with 0.7% more new sellers than this time a year ago, compared with a 1.2% fall in new-to-the-market sellers nationally, Rightmove said.

This sector is also more likely to sell, with the number of sales agreed down by just 0.4% compared to this time last year, while the national average drop is 1.6%.

Mr Shipside said: “Properties in this middle sector offer the ideal escape route to families looking for more bedrooms, more space and their choice of schools.

“They are often second-steppers out-growing their first property and it gets harder to postpone a move with growing children.

“They may have already delayed for a year or two waiting for Brexit clarity, and understandably their patience is wearing thin.”

Mr Shipside said the Brexit extension could also now give hesitating home movers encouragement “that there is now a window of relative certainty in uncertain times”.

He said demand is “clearly there” as March was Rightmove’s busiest ever month with over 145 million visits to the website.

Rightmove also quoted the views of estate agents.

Bruce King, director of Cheffins estate agents in Cambridge said: “We’re certainly seeing an uplift in activity as we come into the spring and summer months.

“The best way to describe the sentiment in the market at the moment is ‘bored of Brexit’ – fed up with sitting on their hands, sellers are now looking to get on with their lives and move house and buyers are looking to secure somewhere new.

“People’s reasons for moving are still as relevant now as they ever were and buyers in the market still need to upsize, downsize, move locations, move into school catchments and so on and we are seeing that they are now returning to the marketplace as they realise that they can’t keep putting life on hold.

“Families in particular have been most active in the market over the past few months with house moves driven by schools, job relocations or upsizing.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “Buyers, particularly those in the family homes market, have become frustrated at the lack of new homes coming to market.

“This greater competition has resulted in upward pressure on prices, so it is perhaps not surprising to see today’s data showing a greater monthly price increase.”