House Price Index Reaffirms North-South Divide

Property asking prices went up by 1.1% (+ ) this month, the largest October increase since the 1.4% rise in 2014. Eight out of 10 regions saw this increase, except for Yorkshire & Humber and East Midlands.

 

According to the latest house price index by Rightmove, the 104,000 new-to-market sellers may struggle to achieve a sale before Christmas as buyers are being cautious.

While the overall number of properties appearing on the market in England and Wales went up last month by 3.1%, compared with the same period in 2016, the number of sales agreed was down 5.9%.

However, the north is outperforming the south, with a fall of only 3.0% of sales, compared to the south’s 7.9%.

This is due in part to the increasing difficulty sellers of five-bedroom homes or four-bedroom detached properties are having, especially in London, where it takes an average of 86 days to find a buyer.

By comparison, sellers of three or four-bedroom homes, excluding four-bedroom detached properties, are typically sold in an average of 60 days. This suggests that second-steppers – typically couples and young families that are already on the property ladder and looking to move up – are the target audience for sellers that want to secure a sale before Christmas.

Rightmove’s director and housing market analyst, Miles Shipside, suggests sellers may want to price their properties competitively to achieve a sale:

“With buyers becoming more Scrooge-like with their cash, sellers who have undercut the average 1.1% rise in asking prices may stand a better chance of finding a buyer before Christmas”.

He goes on to say that “with buyers’ average wage rises often falling behind retail price inflation, and with a rise in interest rates being more heavily trailed by the Bank of England, sellers in these most popular sectors should still be wary of over-pricing.”