Rightmove reports busiest ever month and optimistic pricing but property is taking longer to sell
The average price of a UK property coming on to the market has risen by more than £2,400 in a month to just over £300,000 amid evidence of “record” levels of house-hunting activity, according to Rightmove.
The website, which tracks 90% of the UK property market, said the national average asking price for a home had increased by 0.8% during the past month, following the 0.7% rise it reported in mid-January.
However, some sellers may be over-pricing their properties: the average time to sell has risen once again and is now 72 days, compared with 67 days a month ago and 55 during the summer of 2017. In London, the average has climbed to 83 days.
Rightmove said that while it was the norm for new sellers’ asking prices to be buoyant at the start of a new year, “this first complete month in 2018 is seeing more pricing optimism than the comparable period in 2017”. In general, however, sellers were not being over-ambitious or setting too high a price, it added.
The website, which claims to display a stock of more than one million properties to buy or rent, said the average asking price now stood at £300,001, compared with £297,587 a month ago. It described January as its “busiest month ever”, with a record 141m website visits.
In all the UK regions it tracks, the typical price of a newly-marketed property rose during the past month, with the exception of south-west England, where the figure slipped back slightly. Scotland saw the biggest monthly increase, at 5.1%, while the north-east and Wales managed 3.6% and 3.5%.
However, on a national basis, the annual rate of price growth “remains subdued” at 1.5%, said the website.
Separate Rightmove data for London show that the city’s 32 boroughs have enjoyed mixed fortunes. In Lambeth, asking prices have fallen by 1.4% during the past month, and are down 7.3% on 12 months ago. The average price there is £635,376.
Other London boroughs where typical asking prices have fallen during the past four to five weeks include Tower Hamlets (down 1.2%), Hounslow (down 0.8%) and Brent (down 0.6%).
The figures may also indicate that the areas of London that are home to the most expensive properties are bouncing back from some of their lows; or that some sellers are being greedy. In Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea — the two boroughs where the typical price tag is above £1m — asking prices jumped 3.8% and 2.5% during the past month.