There’s been an average asking price rise of 2.3 per cent in the past four weeks – the biggest ever increase recorded by Rightmove in its 18 years operating an asking price index.
The figure is based on almost 65,000 properties marketed between December 8 and january 11 – so the vast majority were after the result of the General Election was known.
Buyers are also optimistic, with a jump in demand since the vote. In the period from December 13 to January 15, Rightmove says enquiries to agents were up by 15 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.
This then led to a 7.4 per cent increase in the number of sales agreed over the same period.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, comments: “The housing market dislikes uncertainty, and the unsettled political outlook over the last three and a half years since the EU referendum caused some potential home-movers to hesitate. There now seems to be a release of this pent-up demand, which suggests we are in store for an active spring market.”
He continues: “The early birds are on it, with over 1.3m buyer enquiries to agents since the election, up 15 per cent on the same period a year ago. Some buyers are even further ahead and have snapped up a property already.”
Rightmove has been operating its index since 2002 and the previous highest January price rise was 2.2 per cent in 2015.
Today’s record rise has helped to push the annual rate of increase to 2.7 per cent, which is the highest level since July 2017.
But Shipside cautions: “It’s still a price-sensitive market, with stretched buyer affordability, so sellers should be careful not to get carried away with their pricing and miss out on this window of increased activity. One factor behind the upwards price pressure has been the shortage of property coming to market in many areas of the country, with some would-be sellers postponing their moves until they judge the outlook to be more certain.”
Newly-marketed properties with two bedrooms or fewer – which Rightmove suggests is the natural first time buyer property – now have a national average asking price of £193,103.
“First-time-buyer activity has remained strong, buoyed by cheap interest rates and the high costs of renting. The downside of this high demand is upwards price pressure, with the average price of typical first-time-buyer property hitting a new record high. However, the annual rate of increase remains fairly modest at 1.6 per cent, less than the rate of growth in average earnings, so affordability has actually improved a little for first-time buyers” adds Shipside.