Rightmove have reported on the latest House Price Index and have said the average price of newly-marketed property has hit all-time highs in both the East and West Midlands, and also in Wales and the North West. From a property type perspective, it has also hit new record highs in the lower and middle sectors of the market nationally. First-time-buyer properties (two bedrooms or fewer) have hit an average of £189,840, 0.5% higher than their previous high seen in June 2017. Second-stepper properties, (three or four bedrooms excluding four-bedroom detached), are now coming to the market at an average price of £272,031, 0.9% dearer than their previous high recorded in October 2017. Price rises are in part being driven by a decrease in supply as the market enters a traditionally busy phase. Rightmove measured 112,693 properties coming to market in the last four weeks, down by 5.2% on the same period a year ago. Some of this drop will be due to the heavy snow delaying some agents and sellers from bringing properties to market.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “It remains to be seen if this month’s eleven-year price rise high for March is a catch-up anomaly after two more subdued price rise months, or an early sign of price pressure building up a real head of steam as we enter the spring market. Either way, sellers need to be mindful of increasingly stretched buyer affordability, and the more they increase prices the more buyers will hit their ceiling on the amount they are able to save for a deposit and borrow for a mortgage. There does however still seem to be potential price headroom in parts of the country, especially in some of the regions in the north, and in the more mass-market sectors. However, sooner or later higher prices tend to mean fewer people can afford to move, and that is one of the factors keeping the annual rate of increase subdued at 2.1%.”