The average asking price jumped by 1.1% in the last month – Rightmove

But the portal warns that “New sellers’ pricing optimism may be unfounded in some parts of the country” as deal numbers drop

There’s been a bit of a surge in asking prices in the last 30-or-so days, according to property portal Rightmove.

Asking prices

The 104,000 new properties coming to market across the UK in October’s dataset were priced at an average of 1.1% (£3,432) above properties being put on sale in the previous month.

The shift in gear has been even more dramatic in the capital. Here, the average October asking price of £629,611 was 3.1% above September’s average – although it still falls 2.5% short of last October’s £645,833.

Rightmove’s Index has recorded an increase in October every year since it started back in 2001, but this month’s national average is the greatest since 2014’s +1.4%.

But a dip in deal numbers in nine out of ten UK regions leads the portal to warn that “new sellers’ pricing optimism may be unfounded in some parts of the country”

National average asking prices

Month

Avg. asking price

Monthly change

Annual change

Index

October 2017

£313,435

+1.1%

+1.4%

258

September 2017

£310,003

-1.2%

+1.1%

255.2

National average asking prices by market sector

(excluding Inner London)

Sector

October 2017

September 2017

Monthly change

Annual change

First-time buyers

£196,328

£194,883

+0.7%

+3.9%

Second-steppers

£266,871

£266,381

+0.2%

+2.4%

Top of the ladder

£554,246

£549,230

+0.9%

+0.7%

Agreed sales

Eight out of ten UK regions have recorded higher asking prices this month, despite agreed sales numbers being down in nine of the ten this month compared to September 2016. But the annual picture is more positive: agreed sales numbers in the year-to-date are still 1.1% ahead of 2016.

London has led the downward charge this month; 9% fewer sales were done (via Rightmove) in the capital compared to the previous October.

Other southern regions are following the capital’s lead, with deal numbers across the southern half of the country dipping by 7.9% compared to this time a year ago. That compares to a 3% drop in the North.

Average time to sell

New vendors are cutting it fine if they want to sell by Christmas (69 days away).

The national average time from a property first being advertised on Rightmove to finding a buyer is currently 63 days, or 69 in Greater London.

More expensive homes (five or more bedrooms) take a bit longer to shift than first- and second-step properties. “Top of the ladder properties” take 76 days on average to successfully find a buyer – and even longer in London.

5+ bed homes in the capital take an average of 86 days to find a buyer, which is contributing to that 9% drop in agreed sales compared to the same period last year.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst: “With Christmas some 69 days away and the average time to find a buyer being 63 days, many of the 104,000 new sellers this month will be hoping to agree a sale before Christmas. It will be harder for this Autumn’s sellers to secure a sale because buyers have more choice with a 3.1% increase in new seller numbers compared to this time a year ago. In addition, the number of sales agreed was running ahead of 2016 over the summer, but has now fallen back with a 5.9% decrease compared to last September. New sellers’ pricing optimism may therefore be unfounded in some parts of the country. While this month sees higher asking prices in eight out of ten regions, sales agreed are below this time a year ago in nine out of ten. With buyers becoming more Scrooge-like with their cash, sellers who have undercut the average 1.1% rise in asking prices may stand a better chance of finding a buyer before Christmas, especially if they are in one of the more active parts of the market.”

“Whilst affordability is stretched, it is still countered by the motivation to own a home rather than rent, or the need for extra space to house a growing family. Sellers looking to find a buyer before Christmas have a head start if they are selling a property in these two mass-market sectors, as that is where there is the greatest demand. However, with buyers’ average wage rises often falling behind retail price inflation, and with a rise in interest rates being more heavily trailed by the Bank of England, sellers in these most popular sectors should still be wary of over-pricing. Buyers will be looking for the best buy on the market in their desired area either in terms of price or quality of finish.

“Sales agreed numbers are holding up better in the north, whilst a common factor throughout the country is the lower and middle market sectors being the most active. However, where property prices have far outstripped buyers’ wages, and consequently their affordability, sellers will either have to be more tempting with their asking prices or outscore other properties with extra desirable features. With the number of sales agreed for the year still up on a pretty busy 2016 it shows there is plenty of potential life in the market and need for housing, but at the right price and quality. Get that right and it will hopefully mean the present of a successful sale for Christmas and the gift of a new home in the new year. Those homeowners who need to do some work to their home to make it more attractive to potential buyers should get ready now in time for marketing in January.”

Agents’ Views

Nick Leeming, Chairman at Jackson-Stops: “The driving force behind the slowdown in sales in September is the combination of a lack of supply of homes to the market and potential buyers being warier than usual due to the prospect of increasing interest rates. Christmas is generally a crucial deadline for everyone involved in the house buying and selling process, with buyers wanting to unwrap gifts with their family in their new property. Accurate pricing is vital to secure a sale as quickly as possible, particularly as buyers are savvier than ever before on their local property market given the host of research tools at their disposal. Buyers will generally have a clear check-list of what they want in a home and they will not pay over the odds in the current climate for something that does not tick all the boxes.”

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