Asking prices in the UK increased by an average of 0.9% or £2,841 this month, buoyed by the spring market and consistent with the previous two year average of 1% for the time of year.
The latest data from the Rightmove index also shows that four out of 11 regions covered recorded new asking price records in May, suggesting that in some locations Brexit is not having much impact on the market.
Year on year asking prices increased by a more modest 0.1%, taking the average price of newly marketed homes to £308,290.
But prospective buyers in Wales, the West Midlands, the East Midlands, and the North West are being confronted with all-time highs for the average price of property coming to market.
In Wales asking prices are 4.1% higher than 12 months ago, taking the average above £200,000, while in the West Midlands they are 3% higher, in the East Midlands 2.5% higher and in the North West at 2.1% higher.
‘These increases are the result of a combination of strong demand, buyers’ affordability headroom, and a continuing shortage of suitable properties. Agents in these areas say that Brexit concerns are not really on the agenda of home-movers; they are more concerned with satisfying their housing needs,’ said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.
Rightmove says that upwards price pressure and positive sentiment in these regions are overcoming hesitancy to come to market, with average number of new sellers in the year to date steady at -0.3% compared with same period in 2018.
In contrast the same comparison sees new listing numbers in the remaining seven regions down by an average of 6.5%. The data also shows that London, the South East and the East of England have all seen asking prices fall year on year.
In London asking prices increased by 1.2% month on month to an average of £621,589 but are 2.5% down compared with May 2018. In the South East they are down 1.1% on an annual basis and up just 0.6% month on month to £407,239.
Meanwhile, in Scotland the market has been steady, up 1.1% month on month and up 1.7% year on year to an average asking price of £157,073.
‘Price increases are the norm at this time of year, with only one fall in the last 10 years, as new to the market sellers’ price aspirations are under pinned by the higher buyer demand that is a feature of the spring market,’ Shipside explained.
‘Indeed the 0.9% monthly rise is consistent with the previous two years’ average rise of 1% over the same period. What will seem inconsistent to some, given the ongoing uncertainty of the Brexit outcome, is that four out of 11 regions have hit record highs for new seller asking prices,’ he added.
But Shipside also pointed out that the right price still attracts good interest. ‘In spite of some of the challenges in the market, interest in property remains very high. People’s ongoing desire to satisfy their pent-up housing needs means that on average someone contacts an agent on Rightmove every second,’ he added.
Ian Marriott, director at FHP Living in West Bridgford in Nottinghamshire, said that there is a strong market in the East Midlands at the moment. ‘There are less buyers out there at the moment, but the people who are in the market are doers rather than people who will mess you around. Sellers shouldn’t be disheartened if viewing figures are down because the quality of people who are interested in buying is better than before,’ he pointed out.
‘I think people are just really bored of the whole Brexit debate. It feels like there is some kind of election every week and so the fear factor is perhaps subsiding, and people are just getting on with their lives. There may be 30% less people in our market, but the good news is that 70% of people still want to get on and move. We’re possibly less affected than the London and southern regions because, being further removed from the city, we have a slightly more stable market. Things don’t react as quickly here to the economy,’ he added.
According to Dafydd Spear, sales manager at Belvoir Swansea, there is lots of investment in the city centre which is really driving things and boosting the whole area. ‘We’re a very buoyant market. People still need to buy, and people still need to sell and over the last 12 months it’s been all system go really. We’ve been seeing a few cheeky offers, but by and large we’re getting houses sold at very close to their asking prices, and in some cases, exceeding them,’ he said.