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Dampened prices but housing market activity up

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Written by: Edward Murray
17/07/2017
Average house prices remain subdued, although the number of transactions is on the rise, according to the latest Rightmove House Price Index.

The average national price of newly marketed properties was virtually at a standstill, up by 0.1% to £316,421. This reversed the 0.4% dip taken by average prices last month and means average prices in July are 2.8% higher than in the same month last year.

First-time buyers saw average prices fall back 1.7% to £196,450 against last month, but tight affordability means they remain under pressure. On an annual basis asking prices for this sector of the market are 3.8% ahead of where they were in July 2016.

Rightmove found the number of sales agreed is up by 4.6% in June 2017 compared to June 2016, and the number of sellers coming to market is also up on the same period a year ago, with a 7.6% increase in fresh choice.

The recovery in buyer activity has also meant that sales agreed year-to-date in 2017 are now virtually on a par with the same period in 2016 which was boosted by the rush to beat the April 2016 stamp duty deadline, running at just 0.4% down.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Prices are in the summer doldrums. Sellers coming to market at this time of year have to price more keenly as the traditionally bubblier spring selling season is over and prospective buyers are distracted by their own summer holiday plans. A year on from the shock referendum result and subsequent dent in activity levels, the fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, low interest rates, strong demand and historic undersupply of homes are mitigating any wobbles in confidence and as a result nearly half the properties on the market, over 45%, have sold signs slapped across them.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Today’s figures mirror the slowing of house price growth that we saw in the recent RICS survey, but activity in the mortgage market remains strong – and the property market outside of London and the South East continues to show healthy growth. In the North, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham continue to enjoy strong performance, while across the country, first-time buyers have also doubled in number from the market low of 2009.”

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