UK asking prices reach record high

Asking prices for UK property has reached a new high of £313,655.

Residential property asking prices in the UK have increased to a record high of £313,655, according to latest figures from Rightmove’s monthly index.

The data reveals that asking prices are up 1.1% in April, representing a £3,547 month-on-month rise, and yet the overall annual pace of increase continued to slow, reaching just 2.2% this month, the lowest level for four years.

The figures suggest that the first-time buyer sector is driving growth, up 6.5% annually to new record of £194,881.

Strong buyer activity also helped to ensure that the number of sales agreed in April so far was the highest for this time of year since 2007, before the credit crunch.

While the run-up to an election creates a degree of uncertainty and often a pause in activity, this strong set of figures should help mitigate pre-election jitters, according to Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.

He commented: “High buyer demand in most parts of the country has helped to propel the price of newly marketed property to record highs. There are signs of a strong spring market with the number of sales agreed achieved at this time of year being the highest since 2007.

“It remains to be seen what effect the run-up to the snap election will have, though any slowdown in activity will be counterbalanced by the market’s current fast pace. Indeed, in locations where choice of suitable property is limited hesitation could mean losing out to others who still decide to act.”

Shipside believes that increasingly stretched buyer affordability will continue to be a price moderator for sellers who are over-ambitious with their pricing, tempering the pace of price rises.

He added: “Strong buyer activity this month has led to 10% higher numbers of sales agreed than in the same period in 2016.”

Leaders is among those estate agents which found that market activity in recent weeks very much mirrors the findings of Rightmove’s House Price Index.

Kevin Shaw, national sales director at Leaders, said: “March saw a record number of new instructions for Leaders and was our second highest month ever for sales agreed. At the same time, with good levels of available stock, we carried out a record number of viewings.

“The forthcoming election is unlikely to have a significant effect on the buoyancy of the market. The underlying fundamentals are still in place and we are expecting seasonal activity to remain robust as we head into the summer months.”