Seller asking prices hit new record


for sale signs

House sellers' average asking prices have broken through the quarter of a million pounds milestone for the first time amid signs of a "widespread" upturn in the housing market.

The new record meant that new sellers coming to market were asking £252,798 on average in June, representing a 1.2% month-on-month increase on a previous record set in May, property website Rightmove said.

The rise will fuel concerns that Government efforts to kick-start the housing market could lead to a "property bubble", with mortgage borrowers trying to stretch their finances too far. Sellers' asking prices have risen every month so far during 2013, according to Rightmove.

A string of recent studies have reported signs of confidence returning to the market, including demand from would-be buyers strengthening and sellers becoming more confident about sticking to their asking prices.

There has also been evidence that first-time buyers are finding it easier to get access to a mortgage, with this sector currently making up more than two-fifths of loans to home buyers.

Rightmove, whose house price records go back to 2002, said that the South East has seen the strongest house price growth this year so far, with asking prices soaring by 15% or more than £42,000 typically since the start of the year to reach around £329,968.

Asking prices in London posted a new record high for the capital of £515,243 on average.

The relative strength of the London market is now rippling out to create a wider pick-up across England and Wales, the website said.

Prices in the Northern regions, the Midlands and Wales have risen by 9.2% over the first half-year, almost keeping pace with a 10.6% increase recorded in the South, suggesting a "wider and more sustainable recovery", according to Rightmove.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "The good news is that this indicates a wider upturn, albeit at historically low but increasing volumes. The bad news for would-be buyers is that it has helped propel the average price of a property coming to market through the quarter of a million quid milestone for the first time."

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