Sunday, 21 July 2019

Average selling prices nudging a new record

Average selling prices nudging a new record

THE average price of homes coming to market is close to setting a new UK record, according to property portal Rightmove.

The past month has seen an average increase of £1,058 or 0.3 per cent.

Four northern regions have seen their highest ever prices, pushing the national average price of property coming to market to within £91 of a new record despite the backdrop of political uncertainty.

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: “With the country supposedly consumed by the twists and turns of Brexit, it’s surprising that the price of property coming to market is within a whisker of setting a new record.

“At £91 below June 2018’s figure of £309,439, it’s within touching distance of the previous high.

“More buoyant markets in the North and Midlands are helping to nudge up prices due to the seemingly relentless strength of buyer demand.

“Buyers in four regions are seeing higher new seller asking prices on average than ever before.”

The regions setting new all-time price highs are the East Midlands, the North West, Wales, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

These regions are also outperforming the national average in the key metrics of number of properties coming to market and the levels of sales agreed so far in 2019.

At the mid-point of 2019 new seller supply remains constrained nationally, down by an average of five per cent against the same period in 2018.

Mr Shipside added: “The national trend sees new seller supply down by an average of five per cent so far this year compared to the same time last year, indicating some hesitancy on the part of would-be sellers, especially notable in parts of the south.

“However, these better-performing northerly regions are all beating that national average. In the East Midlands, new seller supply is up by 0.3 per cent, in Yorkshire and the Humber it’s down by just 0.2 per cent, in Wales it’s fallen by 2.5 per cent and in the North West it’s dropped off by 2.7 per cent.”

This regional pattern is also evident in the number of sales being agreed, though again the more difficult national market backdrop has an effect.

The more marked reluctance of would-be sellers in the south to come to market means less property choice for buyers and fewer sales agreed in those regions.

Despite this, the national average for the number of sales agreed in the first half of the year is down by only 4.3 per cent on the same period last year.

The regions which have set new price records are again all selling better than the national average, with Wales 0.2 per cent ahead of last year,

Yorkshire and the Humber down by 1.9 per cent, the North West dropping off by 3.3 per cent, and the East Midlands down by 3.7 per cent.

Mr Shipside continued: “The national market faces a range of challenges, with overall average asking prices barely changed from last year and activity levels slightly lower.

“Some buyers are hesitant due to the long-drawn-out uncertainty of Brexit and there is also a slight tightening of mortgage availability and stretched buyer affordability, especially when it comes to raising a deposit.

“There is however a marked North/South divide as all northern regions are selling better than those in the southern part of the UK.

“On average the number of sales agreed for the year to date in the northern regions is down by 1.7 per cent compared to the same period last year, while success at selling is more elusive in the southern regions, which are down by an average of 7.1 per cent.

“To sell in these more difficult locations you have to undercut the asking prices of similar properties, and preferably have a well-finished and expertly marketed home that will all combine to stir hesitant buyer interest.”

Leading estate agents have also given their views of the current state of the UK property market.

Mark Manning, director of Manning Stainton in Leeds, Harrogate, Wetherby and Wakefield, said: “This is certainly not a market without its issues, as the continuing political uncertainty remains a concern as we move towards the summer.

“However for now the market in the North seems poised for further growth over the coming months as the sheer weight of buyer demand continues to push prices ever higher across our region.

“Since the start of the year just over a third of all the properties that we’ve listed have been sold for their asking price or higher and with an average selling price of just over 98 per cent of the asking price it seems that sellers are still calling the shots.

“Much like in 2018 we have also seen a consistent rise in the number of first-time buyers looking to get on the ladder.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “Despite Theresa May’s resignation as Conservative leader, which has caused further disturbance in the political sphere, the property market is bouncing back as buyers come to appreciate the price it costs to bag your dream home in a market where supply remains tight.

“Northern regions in particular are continuing to show resilience amid this political landscape, with many buyers and sellers in agreement that now is as good a time as any to make a move.

“With property prices reaching record highs in some northern parts of the country, we should start to see an increase in listings and subsequent transactions as those southern sellers currently sitting on the fence decide to launch their home to the market in fear of missing out on a good deal.”


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