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Rise in asking prices ‘fueled by relief at Brexit delay’

Written by: Max Liu
The average asking price increased by almost £3,500 this month, according to figures from Rightmove.

April saw the biggest month-on-month price rise in new to the market properties for over a year, with prices up £3,447 or 1.1%.

The most marked increase was in the family home sector where pressing needs, such as space and school catchment areas, outweigh uncertainty. This sector has consistently outperformed all others with an average 0.7% year-on-year price increase compared to an overall fall of 0.1%.

Family homes are holding their value better than other sectors, coming to the market at asking prices 0.7% higher than a year ago, compared to the national average fall for all properties of 0.1%.

The last time property prices were at their current level was shortly before the Brexit referendum and Rightmove predicted that the Brexit delay, agreed between the UK and European Union last week, could boost spring market activity as short-term economic uncertainty recedes.

‘Wave of relief’

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “The rise in new seller asking prices reflects growing activity as the market builds momentum.

“However, on average, properties are still coming to the market at slightly lower prices than a year ago. It’s one of the most price-sensitive markets that we’ve seen for years, with buyers understandably looking for value or for homes with extra quality and appeal that suit their needs.

“No doubt there are still a lot of twists and turns to come, but this [Brexit] extension could give hesitating home movers encouragement that there is now a window of relative certainty in uncertain times. We are not anticipating an activity surge, but maybe a wave of relief that releases some pent-up demand to take advantage of static property prices and cheap fixed-rate mortgages.”

He added that March 2019 was the busiest ever month for Rightmove’s website which received more than 145m visits.

Back to business as usual?

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman, said: ‘On the face of it, the Rightmove increases look fairly spectacular but asking prices are rising due to a shortage of stock – this is down to supply and demand.

“When you look beyond the numbers it is apparent that they include the 50 per cent of homes that don’t sell as well as those that do. Asking price is a marketing tool, not a valuation, so this is a useful guide to market movements, not least because the survey is now long-established and around 90 per cent of all estate agents subscribe to it.”

Others, however, were more upbeat.

Bruce King, director of Cheffins estate agents in Cambridge said: “We’re certainly seeing an uplift in activity as we come into the spring and summer months. The best way to describe the sentiment in the market at the moment is ‘bored of Brexit;’ fed up with sitting on their hands, sellers are now looking to get on with their lives and move house and buyers are looking to secure somewhere new.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of London estate agent Jackson-Stops, said: “With Brexit delays becoming somewhat of a blur, buyers across the country are getting back to business as usual. However, with demand currently far outweighing supply, buyers, particularly those in the family homes market, have become frustrated at the lack of new homes coming to market. This greater competition has resulted in upward pressure on prices.”

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