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Asking prices in England and Wales increased by 0.9% month on month in September taking the average asking price to £264,875, according to the latest index from Rightmove. This followed a 2.9% contraction in August and it is the first rise at this time of the year since 2011. Rightmove says that it marks an earlier than usual sign of autumn activity picking up. London also saw prices edge up by 0.9% over the month to reach £557,792 on average. Three regions have seen prices fall. They were down 1.8% in the West Midlands, down 1.6% in Wales and down 0.8% in the North West. The report says that the indications are that pent-up demand remains in spite of a summer lull and enquiries to agents are up overall by 16% year on year, the second highest ever monthly level. It also suggests that the upturn has been aided by holidaying home hunters being constantly in touch, with 45% growth in enquiries from mobile devices in August compared to last year. However it adds that the current ‘window to move’ may be compromised by economic uncertainty if Scotland votes for independence with the referendum vote later this week as markets do not like uncertainty. ‘We usually see a price fall at this time of year as potential home movers are generally still in holiday mode. However, it looks like there are early signs of a bounce back in demand after the summer lull, leaving those estate agents with a shortage of stock at a potential disadvantage and therefore eager to attract new instructions,’ said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst. ‘While there is more property coming to market this year, it has been more than swallowed up by increased sales. There is already 10% less property available per estate agency branch compared to this time a year ago, and with enquiries by phone and email to agents up by 16% compared to August last year, and at near record levels, you can see why there has been an earlier than usual price pick-up,’ he explained. ‘The ability of potential buyers to remain on-watch and in-touch and react more quickly is also a factor. While you may be switched off from work during the summer break, many people’s mobile devices are still switched on to the internet to see what’s coming to market,’ he added. But he pointed out that there is a risk of less certain consumer outlook for remainder of 2014. So far 2014 has proved to be the ‘year to move’, with consumer confidence buoyed by consistently low interest rates and improving economic data after several years of an uncertain outlook. The number of housing transactions recorded by HMRC in England and Wales for the year is currently on course to be between 1.1 and 1.2 million, which would be a significant improvement on the 970,000 transactions last year and the 800,000 average of the previous five years. HMRC’s transaction numbers for completed sales in… Continue reading →
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