North and south divide as the Autumn market kicks in

"The increase in the number of properties up for sale should not be misinterpreted as a glut of unsold property" - Rightmove

Asking prices across London tipped up by 2.4% in the last month, reports Rightmove, with Kensington & Chelsea seeing a huge 13.3% jump – although an average £2,328,422 asking price in the Royal Borough still sits 6.6% below last year’s peak.

As the Autumn market kicks in, London’s average asking price now stands at £645,833, with annual asking price inflation sitting at just +2.5%; the second lowest performance out of the nine regions of England.

Outside of the capital, Rightmove says that “it’s a sellers’ market” in the North and in Wales, while buyers have the upper hand in southern regions.

The average price tag on a property coming to market across England and Wales is £309,122, marking an increase of 0.9% or £2,623 compared with September; after two consecutive months of growth, the average asking price is now just £1,349 below June’s record high.

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Agreed sales in September “have recovered from the summer lull”, says Rightmove, and are now down just 4% on the post-election boosted same period in 2015, and up 6% on 2014.

Supply, however, is where the regional divide becomes a chasm: Combining the housing market in Wales together with the North of England and the Midlands, the number of homes on the market is down by 11% compared with a year ago.

Southern England, on the other hand, has seen the supply of available homes increase by 16% compared with a year ago. While sales have picked up after the summer months, the number of sales agreed is down across all four southern regions, indicative of less buyer activity than in September 2015. The average across all four regions is a fall in sales agreed of 10%.

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Miles Shipside, Director of Rightmove: “After the referendum result and the usual summer slowdown, estate agents’ experiences appear to fall into one of two camps, with a definite north/south divide. Agents in the northern half of the country reported a quiet week or two after the surprise result of the Brexit vote, but most then saw a quick return to good levels of buyer enquiries and subsequent sales agreed. In contrast many in the southern regions saw more prolonged hesitancy among buyers, with it taking until September before a marked pick-up in activity. What has continued is the overall upwards trajectory in the average price of property coming to market, underpinned by years of inadequate new-build supply. After some price falls over the quieter summer period, the national average is now less than a couple of thousand pounds shy of its all-time high recorded in June.

“While the number of new-to-the-market sellers is actually up compared to this time last year in all the northern regions, it is failing to keep pace with high buyer demand.  Agents report brisk sales in many areas, especially in the mass-market sectors. They say as long as it’s not over-priced, the right house in the right area is quickly being snapped up for close to, at, or even over the asking price.

The increase in the number of properties up for sale should not be misinterpreted as a glut of unsold property

“The increase in the number of properties up for sale should not be misinterpreted as a glut of unsold property, but rather as an increase from the very low number of properties that agents have had on their books in the last few fast-selling years. While there is still underlying high demand in mass-market sectors, some find that affordability has become over-stretched while others judge that prices have risen beyond their true value. While many properties are still selling, in market sectors where there is now a lot more choice, buyers need enticing by an attractive price or by properties with special finish or appeal. If sellers fail to take this into account, then buyers will choose to buy elsewhere or bide their time.”

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Breakdown by London Boroughs

Breakdown by London Boroughs

Regional trends

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