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First-time Buyer

House prices get unexpected New Year bounce

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

House prices have lifted by 0.9% in January – the biggest New Year rise seen since 2020.

The average asking price for a new home now stands at £362,438, according to property listings site Rightmove.

This equates to a £3,301 increase from December but is still £8,720 lower than October’s peak.

However, the website also noted there has been something of a lull in the market underscored by prospective buyers falling by a third compared to this time last year.

New year, new enquiries, new buyers

On a brighter note, despite the annual fall, enquiries were up 4% compared to the same period in 2019 and 55% compared with the two weeks before Christmas, Rightmove said.

Softening of average monthly mortgage payments for first-time buyers also spelled good news for the market. And the last week has been the busiest for home valuation requests since August 2022, according to the property portal.

Even with the prospect of more sellers coming to market, the number of available homes for sale is still well below long-term norms.

A bounce back after Christmas

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, said: “The early-bird sellers who are already on the market and have priced correctly are likely to reap the benefits of the bounce in buyer activity, while over-valuing sellers may get caught out as property stock builds over the next few weeks and months, and they experience more competition from other better-priced sellers in their area.

“It will be important for the vast majority of sellers to remember that a drop in your asking price is likely not an actual loss compared with what you paid for it, only a failure to live up to aspirations. Listening to your estate agent’s advice about your hyper-local market and pricing right the first time can avoid a stale sale and the need for even greater reductions later.

“The numbers certainly suggest that activity has bounced back after Christmas and agents will now be busy trying to match the likely revised expectations of buyers and sellers as we move towards the important spring season.”