Site sees surge in asking prices


for sale signs

House sellers' asking prices have surged at their fastest annual rate since 2007 amid signs that the market recovery will push into next year, a major property website has reported.

Rightmove said sellers have been asking 4% more in November typically for their property than they were a year ago, marking the biggest annual rise it has seen in six years.

On a month-on-month basis, prices edged down by 2.4% to reach £246,237 on average, marking only the third time in 2013 that there has been a monthly dip.

Asking prices usually fall by around 3% in the month of November amid the pre-Christmas slowdown, so the slower 2.4% decline seen this month suggests that the recent upturn in housing market activity has cushioned the seasonal drop, Rightmove said.
Unusually, house prices in the East Midlands grew at a faster annual rate than those in London in November. Asking prices in the East Midlands are 7.4% higher than they were a year ago, at £168,873 typically.

But the average asking price for a property in London is still more than three times that in the East Midlands. Prices in London have risen by 6.9% year-on-year, to reach £517,276 on average.

Sellers' prices have increased year-on-year across every region in England and Wales apart from the North, the housing market report showed. Prices in the North have dipped by 0.5% annually to reach £141,426.

On a month-on-month basis, prices dropped in all regions. Prices in Wales dropped by the smallest percentage, edging down by 0.4% to reach £165,110 typically. Prices in London saw the biggest monthly drop, at 5%.

Rightmove said that in further signs of growing demand from would-be buyers, traffic to its website has recently seen a 30% increase on a year ago.

The stock of unsold homes has fallen from an average of 71 per estate agency branch one year ago to 67.

Mortgage applications worth £365 million have been received in the first month since the Government's new Help to Buy scheme to help aspiring home buyers was launched.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), NatWest, Halifax and Bank of Scotland started offering mortgages under the scheme last month and lenders representing most of the mortgage market have confirmed they will eventually come on board.

The initiative makes it easier for lenders to offer mortgages to deposits as low as 5% by removing some of the risk they would face if the borrower defaults as the products are backed by the state.

Rightmove said there are signs that the level of choice of homes is holding up relatively well for first-time buyers as the number of flats and terraced homes on the market has declined more slowly this month than the number of detached and semi-detached properties.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "Estate agents expect a more buoyant 2014 as they pick up early signs of an increase in buyer interest and demand, so this side of Christmas could be the time for eager buyers to hunt out keen sellers and do a deal.

"However, agents' challenges differ wildly depending on local market conditions.

"While some are really concerned about future sales because of a lack of fresh sellers, others report some sellers getting too brave too early on their asking price aspirations in less active parts of the country, potentially stifling a recovery before it has got going."

© 2013 Press Association