The price of newly marketed property in Britain increased by an average of 0.3% or £1,058 this month to £309,348 but this was unchanged compared with June 2018, the latest index shows.
However, there were new all-time price highs in the East Midlands, the North West, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber, pushing the national average to within £91 of a new record despite the current backdrop of political uncertainty.
The index report from property portal Rightmove says that market buoyancy in these regions also reflected in better performance for both new sellers coming to market and sales agreed compared to the national average annual change for the year so far.
Indeed, sales agreed for the year so far holding up better in the Northern regions, down by only 1.7% year on year, compared to 7.1% in the South which Rightmove says suggests some hesitancy to engage in the market.
A breakdown of the figures shows that prices in Scotland fell by 0.8% month on month and by 0.5% year on year to £155,840 while in Wales prices increased by 0.9% on a monthly basis and by 4.2% year on year to £202,100.
In the North of England prices increased the most on an annual basis in the North East with a rise of 3.2% to £153,806 but were unchanged month on month while in the North West they increased 2.2% and 1.2% respectively to £200,744.
In the East Midlands prices were up 3.4% year on year and 0.7% month on month to £230,462 while in the West Midlands they increased 2.1% year on year but fell by 0.5% month on month to £231,112 and in Yorkshire and the Humber they were up 0.9% on an annual basis and 0.5% on a monthly basis to £194,581.
In the East of England prices fell 0.1% month on month and 1.7% year on year to £353,997, in the South East they fell 0.5% year on year but increased by 0.7% month on month to £410,008 and in the South West they fell 0.2% on a monthly basis and 0.3% on an annual basis to £311,377.
In Greater London prices have also fallen. They were down by 0.4% month on month but are some 2% lower than in June 2018 at £618,880, the biggest annual fall in the country.
According to Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, with the burden of Brexit it is surprising that the price of property coming to market is close to setting a new record. ‘At £91 below June 2018’s figure of £309,439, it’s within touching distance of the previous high. More buoyant markets in the North and Midlands are helping to nudge up prices due to the seemingly relentless strength of buyer demand. Buyers in four regions are seeing higher new seller asking prices on average than ever before,’ he said.
He explained that the East Midlands, the North West, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber. are outperforming the national average in the key metrics of number of properties coming to market and the levels of sales agreed so far in 2019. At the mid-point of 2019 new seller supply remains constrained nationally, down by an average of 5.0% versus the same period in 2018.
‘These better performing Northerly regions are all beating that national average. In the East Midlands, new seller supply is up by 0.3%, in Yorkshire and the Humber it’s down by just 0.2%, in Wales it’s fallen by 2.5% and in the North West it’s dropped off by 2.7%,’ he pointed out.
This regional pattern is also evident in the number of sales being agreed, though again the more difficult national market backdrop has an effect. The more marked reluctance of would-be sellers in the south to come to market means less property choice for buyers and fewer sales agreed in those regions. Despite this, the national average for the number of sales agreed in the first half of the year is down by only 4.3% on the same period last year.
The regions which have set new price records are again all selling better than the national average, with Wales 0.2% ahead of last year, Yorkshire and the Humber down by 1.9%, the North West dropping off by 3.3%, and the East Midlands down by 3.7%.
‘The national market faces a range of challenges, with overall average asking prices barely changed from last year, and activity levels slightly lower. Some buyers are hesitant due to the long drawn out uncertainty of Brexit, and there is also a slight tightening of mortgage availability and stretched buyer affordability, especially when it comes to raising a deposit,’ said Shipside.
Mark Manning, director of Manning Stainton in Leeds, Harrogate, Wetherby and Wakefield, revealed that since the start of the year just over a third of all the properties listed have been sold for their asking price or higher and with an average selling price of just over 98% of the asking price it seems that sellers are still calling the shots. ‘Much like in 2018 we have also seen a consistent rise in the number of first time buyers looking to get on the ladder,’ he added.
Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, believe there could be more activity coming in the months ahead. ‘The property market is bouncing back. Northern regions in particular are continuing to show resilience amid the political landscape, with many buyers and sellers in agreement that now is as good a time as any to make a move,’ he said.
‘With property prices reaching record highs in some northern parts of the country, we should start to see an increase in listings and subsequent transactions as those southern sellers currently sitting on the fence decide to launch their home to the market in fear of missing out on a good deal,’ he concluded.
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