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First-time Buyer

Homebuyer enquiries rise as asking prices see largest monthly rise on record

Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

Homebuyer enquiries rose by 15 per cent between December and January, compared to a year ago, signalling a return of optimism to the property market, Rightmove has claimed.

The latest housing market index from the estate agent revealed more than 1.3 million buyers made enquiries to purchase a home over the period which led to a 7.4 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of sales agreed.

Asking prices increased by 2.3 per cent, compared to November, representing the largest monthly rise ever recorded by Rightmove since it began its index in 2002.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, 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.”

For first-time buyers, however, the lack of housing stock being put up for sale means they now face high prices in the starter home market.

Newly-marketed properties with two bedrooms or fewer now have a national average asking price of £193,103.

Shipside added: “First-time-buyer activity has remained strong, buoyed by cheap interest rates and the high costs of renting. The downside of this high demand is upwards price pressure, with the average price of typical first-time-buyer property hitting a new record high.

“However, the annual rate of increase remains fairly modest at 1.6 per cent, less than the rate of growth in average earnings, so affordability has actually improved a little for first-time buyers.”