January saw a rise of £2,067 in the average asking price of properties coming on to the market compared with December.
That is according to online property portal Rightmove, who track 90% of the UK property market. Their data also shows there has been a 9% increase in searches on their website when compared to the same period in 2017.
However, there is also a warning that while average asking prices are up, buyers are still price-sensitive with the number of sales agreed down 5.5% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2017.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “Considering some of the gales that buffeted the market in the latter part of 2017, these early readings for 2018 show that there is currently a good following wind of search activity. To keep this year’s initial buyer momentum with you rather than against, serious sellers should note that all regions are currently selling at a slower rate than a year ago, indicating choosier buyers.”
This indicates that the rise in asking prices may be more down to seller optimism rather than an increase in demand.
However, Mr Shipside continued ”Setting tempting asking prices and then quickly reducing them if there is little initial interest will be key to turning this promising level of buyer activity into actual sales, especially in the less active sectors and locations of the UK.” Suggesting that setting optimistic prices when selling could be a part of a tactic for stimulating demand.
Whatever the reason for the increase in asking prices, it’s clear the UK property market is still facing a bit of an uphill struggle. It doesn’t appear to be a sign of an impending crash but the stagnation is not showing any signs of abating just yet.