Record new year increase in average house price tag amid ‘post-election bounce’

The average price tag on a home coming on the market surged by £6,785 in January, according to a property website.

Rightmove’s report, which highlighted evidence of a “post-election bounce”, said the 2.3% upswing is the biggest month-on-month increase it has ever seen at this time of year since its records started in 2002.

The big monthly jump helped to push the annual rate of growth in asking prices to 2.7%, the highest level since July 2017.

Rightmove said that in the period from December 13 to January 15, immediately after the general election, inquiries to estate agents were up by 15% compared with the same period a year ago.

This led to a 7.4% increase in the number of sales agreed over the same period.

Rightmove house price index
Rightmove house price index

Across Britain, the average asking price now stands at £306,810 – up from £300,025 in December.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “This is the biggest new year price surge that we have ever recorded.”

He said: “These statistics seem to indicate that many buyers and sellers feel that the election result gives a window of stability.

“The housing market dislikes uncertainty and the unsettled political outlook over the last three-and-a-half years since the EU referendum caused some potential home-movers to hesitate.

“There now seems to be a release of this pent-up demand, which suggests we are in store for an active spring market.

“The early birds are on it, with over 1.3 million buyer inquiries to agents since the election, up 15% on the same period a year ago.

“Some buyers are even further ahead and have snapped up a property already, with the number of sales agreed up by 7.4% on this time last year.”

Mr Shipside continued: “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.”

Rightmove also quoted the views of estate agents.

Mark Manning, managing director of Yorkshire-based Manning Stainton, said: “The signs are there that the new year is starting very quickly and we’ve come out of the blocks with quite a bit of life.

“We didn’t really see much buyer urgency throughout 2019 and we desperately needed new listings, but then in December just gone, we sold more properties than in any other December since 2004, which was huge.

“We’ve now seen a 15% increase in homeowners looking to sell and things are picking up.”

Marc von Grundherr, a director at Benham and Reeves in London, said: “We have absolutely seen a post-election bounce, quite substantially actually.

“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.

“There has been a dramatic Boris bounce, so to speak, with real optimism among buyers still getting good value. But it’s also not a bad time for sellers as stock levels are still relatively low.”