Property asking prices in England and Wales have hit a record with sales at a decade high, the latest data from the UK’s leading property website shows.
Values in April rose 1.1% (+£3,547) to £313,655, according to figures from the Rightmove property website. The figure exceeds the previous high of £310,471 set in June 2016, reports OPPToday.
This month’s 1.1% rise is also weaker than the average 1.6% spring-boosted surge of the last seven years, slowing the annual increase to 2.2%, the lowest for four years.
While the run-up to an election creates a degree of uncertainty and often a pause in activity, this strong set of figures should help mitigate pre-election jitters, says Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.
“High buyer demand in most parts of the country has helped to propel the price of newly marketed property to record highs. There are signs of a strong spring market with the number of sales agreed achieved at this time of year being the highest since 2007.”
“It remains to be seen what effect the run-up to the snap election will have, though any slowdown in activity will be counterbalanced by the market’s current fast pace. Indeed, in locations where choice of suitable property is limited hesitation could mean losing out to others who still decide to act.”
In the first-time buyer sector of two bedrooms or fewer, Rightmove is seeing record prices and strong buyer activity, with a 6.5% annual rate of increase.
Mr Shipside says, “Increasingly stretched buyer affordability will continue to be a price moderator for sellers who are over-ambitious with their pricing, tempering the pace of price rises. Strong buyer activity this month has led to 10% higher numbers of sales agreed than in the same period in 2016.”
“This large year-on-year disparity should be viewed cautiously as the comparable timespan in 2016 saw a drop in buy-to-let activity with the additional second home stamp duty. However, they are also up by 3.8% when compared to 2015.”
“With the growth in household numbers and new-build supply struggling to keep pace, demand is strong and has led to the highest sales agreed numbers at this time of year since the heady pre-credit-crunch levels.”
The Rightmove House Price Index uses new mapping technology to define regions at a postcode rather than postcode district or area level, and the mix adjustment has been updated to reflect the current proportion of stock by property type in each area, to provide even more accurate data. All regional breakdowns are now reported in line with ONS regions.
The House Price Index is compiled from the asking prices of properties coming onto the market via over 13,000 estate agency branches listing on Rightmove.co.uk. Rather than being a survey of opinions as with some other indices, it is produced from factual data of actual asking prices of properties currently on the market.
The sample includes up to 200,000 homes each month – representing circa 90% of the market, the largest and most up-to-date monthly sample of any house price indicator in the UK.
Almost all (95%) of properties are sold via an agent, whilst only 75% are purchased with a mortgage. The Index differs from other house price indicators in that it reflects asking prices when properties first come onto the market, rather than those recorded by lenders during the mortgage application process or final sales prices reported to the Land Registry
Rightmove measured 148,140 asking prices this month, making up of the UK market. The properties were put on sale by estate agents from 12 March 2017 to 15 April 2017 and advertised on Rightmove.co.uk. This month 7,898 properties have been excluded due to being anomalies.
Meanwhile, in the building trade, small construction firms enjoyed rising workloads in the first quarter of 2017, despite growing concerns over the cost of labour and materials, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
In the three months to March 2017, SME workloads showed rising levels of activity. More firms reported higher workloads compared with the previous quarter (35% vs 32%), while fewer businesses reported lower workloads (14% vs 20%).
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, told ShowHouse:
“Workloads rose in every part of the UK, with particularly positive results in the devolved nations. Given the concerns that wider consumer confidence might be weakening, it’s encouraging that smaller construction firms aren’t sensing any drop-off in demand for their services. Indeed, despite Article 50 being triggered and the growing likelihood of a hard Brexit, these latest results demonstrate that builders are increasingly confident about the immediate future, with one in two forecasting higher workloads during the next quarter.”