House sellers' asking prices hit record high over May


House sellers' asking prices reached a new record high in May amid signs that people's moving needs are taking priority over uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the forthcoming General Election, according to a website.

Rightmove said the average price tag on a home is now £317,281 - marking the second month in a row that asking prices have hit a new record level.

Across England and Wales, the average price of property coming to market has lifted by 1.2% or £3,626 month-on-month, after a previous peak of £313,655 in April.

As the country prepares for the General Election on June 8, Rightmove said that while pre-election periods often prompt a pause in activity, the recent price growth the firm has seen and "strong" year-to-date numbers of sales agreed indicate that many people are undeterred.

The strongest sector for price growth appears to be typical family homes, according to the property website. The asking price on a typical "second stepper" home bought by families looking to upgrade from the first property they ever bought has increased by 5.4% over the last year to reach £270,953.

Homes targeted by people looking to take their second step on the property ladder are typically three bedroom homes or properties with four bedrooms which are not detached, according to Rightmove.  

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: "Whilst all-time high asking prices or economic and political uncertainty could be deterrents to would-be home buyers, this month shows another strong set of figures.

"Demand is exceeding supply in many parts of the country and continues to push up the prices of newly-marketed homes. Spring is in the air and home movers are springing up the housing ladder."

Mr Shipside continued: "What seems to be happening is that moving pressures are understandably taking priority over electioneering and Brexit worries. For many in this group, it seems that moving is definitely on their manifesto."

Looking around the country, Rightmove's figures show asking prices have increased annually across the regions.

Asking prices in Wales have seen the smallest annual increase, with a 0.7% uplift taking the average price there to £182,769. London has seen the next smallest annual increase, with a 0.9% upswing lifting the average asking price there to £649,864.

The West Midlands has seen the biggest annual jump in asking prices, with a 5.9% increase taking the average asking price to £218,620. The East Midlands and the East of England recorded the next strongest annual asking price growth, both seeing jumps of 4.4%.

Rightmove also quoted the views of estate agents.

Nick Leeming, Jackson-Stops and Staff's chairman, said: "Our branches in the home counties across Surrey and Kent are seeing particularly strong interest from second steppers.

"These are typically young families who bought their first home in London around four to five years ago. Some will have taken advantage of the Help to Buy incentive, and nearly all would have benefited from a significant equity increase in their home."

David Westgate, chief executive of Andrews Property Group, said: "The fundamental elements of a strong market are still in existence to boost buyer activity."