Rightmove: Asking prices hit 10-month high but market remains sensitive

Rightmove: Asking prices hit 10-month high but market remains sensitive

Average asking prices have increased at their highest rate for 10 months during March but the property market remains sensitive, Rightmove suggests.

The latest House Price Index from the property portal shows the average price of property coming to the market for sale rose by 1.5% or £5,279 this month to £368,118.

The figure is higher than the historic average March increase of 1.0% and is up 0.8% annually.

Average asking prices are still £4,776 below the May 2023 peak, the report shows.

Rightmove’s analysis shows the number of sales being agreed is now 13% higher than at this time last year, while buyer demand is 8% above last year, led by the less mortgage-rate-sensitive larger homes sector and London.

Agreed sales in the less mortgage-rate-sensitive top-of-the-ladder sector are now 18% higher than last year, the property website said.

It is also this largest homes sector which is driving more people to get in touch with estate agents than at this time last year. In March so far, buyer demand for top-of-the-ladder properties is 12% higher than the same period last year, compared with 8% higher overall for all property types.

However, the portal warns that the market remains sensitive to pricing and external events, while mortgage rates remain high.

It said growth in buyer demand was tempered by “a lacklustre Spring Budget” with no direct help for first-time buyers or mortgage market innovations

The average time to find a buyer is 71 days, the longest at this time of year since 2019, Rightmove said.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, said: “March is typically a strong month for asking price growth, as both buyer and seller activity levels rise and the spring selling season gets underway.

“However, the stronger than usual price growth this March indicates that new sellers are feeling much more confident, with some perhaps being over-optimistic, that there is enough buyer activity and affordability in their local market to achieve a higher price.

“Despite the above average price increases in this opening three months of the year, asking prices are still £4,776 below their peak in May 2023. For those who can afford to buy and have yet to take action to move this year, this may provide a window of opportunity to buy as we now seem to be past the bottom of the market. While some sellers are still being over-optimistic with their pricing expectations, there are also more sellers who are aware of the need to be negotiable and realistic, with elevated interest rates compared to recent years still stretching affordability for many buyers.”

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