‘Record start to the year’ as Rightmove cuts PCL from its price index

It’s “a record start to the year” trumpets Rightmove, as it reports asking prices rising by 1.4% in a month when they usually fall, and a new big number of page views for the portal: Sunday 11th January turned out to be the website’s busiest ever day, with site visits to date up over 10% on last year.

Rightmove has tweaked its monthly asking price index, using “more granular” data to assess the relative health of the market and how bullish/bearish vendors and their agents appear to be. Asking prices are now assessed at a postcode, rather than postcode district, level, and regions have been tied-in with ONS maps to iron out some previous kinks.

Another big change – and very relevant to PrimeResi – is a breakdown of property stock by type, including a “top of the ladder” category for bigger homes (with five or more bedrooms, or four or more if detached). But the index now excludes central London, as the “normal housing ladder is not really applicable” here.

For this latest Index, the first to use new methodology and data, Rightmove measured 68,755 asking prices (circa 90% of the UK market). The properties were put on sale by estate agents from 7th December to 10th January and advertised on Rightmove.co.uk. 3,454 properties have been excluded this month “due to being anomalies”.

  • National average asking prices (excluding inner London)
Jan 2015 Dec 2014 Monthly change Annual change
£273,275 £269,477 +1.4% +8.2%
  • National average asking prices by sector (excluding inner London)
Sector Jan 2015 Dec 2014 Monthly change Annual change
First-time buyers £163,251 £164,383 -0.7% +10.5%
Second-steppers £228,642 £224,783 +1.7% +7.7%
Top of the ladder £490,719 £481,449 +1.9% +7.6%

Monthly asking price trend by market sector

The first days of 2016 have been particularly vibrant, notes the portal, with “indicating an active year ahead”. The price of property coming to market is up by 0.5% (+£1,509) on last month, the second highest rise at this time of year since 2007. Demand as measured by visits to the Rightmove website in the first working week of 2016 is up by 21% on the same period in 2015.

While the 0.5% rise in new seller asking prices is lower than the 1.4% recorded in last January’s report, it is higher than every other January since 2007, before the credit crunch began. A lack of property coming to market has been an upwards driver of both prices and unfulfilled demand, though encouragingly there has been a slight 1.8% year-on-year uplift in the number of newly-marketed properties.  However, the only sector that has increased is that of two bedrooms or fewer, so the only beneficiaries of this are likely to be first-time buyers or investors looking to buy and complete before the April stamp duty hike. Some of this increase could be due to some landlords selling up or more first-time sellers marketing to take advantage of any first quarter surge in investor activity and guard against a post-April slump.

New seller numbers are up 2% on last year and, while modest, this is the highest weekly run-rate over this period for several years. However, the supply of property coming to market is still failing to replenish agents’ stock for sale. Stock has fallen by 10% compared to the same period in 2014, creating upwards price pressure in popular areas, contributing to a 1.4% month-on-month asking price rise.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst: “Upwards price pressure remains, with the second-highest rise seen at this time of year for nine years. The early snapshot of home-hunter visits in the first week of 2016 is up by 21% on the same period last year to 27.8 million visits, showing demand is not letting up either. Encouragingly for first-time buyers there’s more fresh choice with more property coming to market in their target sector. With their asking prices pretty much the same as a month ago, perhaps the knock-on effects of the more punitive landlord tax regime have arrived early and they now face a dilemma over whether to buy now or wait to see if prices drop in this sector over the next few months.”

National charts

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 09.03.52 Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 09.04.13Rightve Jan 3Roghtmove Jan2London charts

  • London’s best performers: January 2015
London’s Top 5 Avg. price Jan 2015 Avg. price Dec 2014 Monthly change Avg. price Jan 2014 Annual change
Merton £589,704 £516,951 14.1% £560,065 5.3%
City of Westminster £2,055,666 £1,867,486 10.1% £1,665,101 23.5%
Hammersmith and Fulham £1,009,772 £919,982 9.8% £927,854 8.8%
Kingston-upon-Thames £593,148 £551,231 7.6% £494,990 19.8%
Bromley £483,060 £451,562 7.0% £414,022 16.7%
  • London’s worst performers: January 2015
London’s Top 5 Avg. price Jan 2015 Avg. price Dec 2014 Monthly change Avg. price Jan 2014 Annual change
Richmond-upon-Thames £780,673 £858,571 -9.1% £807,250 -3.3%
Hounslow £464,195 £503,798 -7.9% £403,566 15.0%
Ealing £565,818 £594,282 -4.8% £488,920 15.7%
Barnet £678,635 £705,132 -3.8% £612,006 10.9%
Camden £968,926 £991,428 -2.3% £981,566 -1.3%

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