UK house prices rose over the last month at the fastest rate on record for the time of the year, as sellers felt more confident about the outlook for the housing market after the general election, according to Rightmove.
The average price of properties coming on to the market jumped by 2.3%, the biggest rise for the period since the property website started its house price index in 2002. Nearly 65,000 UK properties were marketed over the month, with an average asking price of £306,810.
Miles Shipside, a director at Rightmove said the election result had provided a “window of stability” for potential movers after a period of instability since the Brexit vote, which had caused some to put off a move.
He said: “The housing market dislikes uncertainty, and the unsettled political outlook over the last three and a half years since the EU referendum caused some potential home movers to hesitate. There now seems to be a release of this pent-up demand, which suggests we are in store for an active spring market.
“While there may well be more twists and turns to come in the Brexit saga, there is now an opportunity for sellers to get their property on the market for a spring move unaffected by Brexit deadlines.”
In the immediate aftermath of the election, between 13 December and 15 January, the number of sales agreed increased by 7.5% compared with the same period a year earlier, Rightmove said.
First-time buyers face record high prices to get on to the property ladder. The average property with two bedrooms or fewer now have a national average asking price of £193,103 according to the property website.
Shipside said: “First-time-buyer activity has remained strong, buoyed by cheap interest rates and the high costs of renting. The downside of this high demand is upwards price pressure, with the average price of typical first-time-buyer property hitting a new record high.
“However, the annual rate of increase remains fairly modest at 1.6%, less than the rate of growth in average earnings, so affordability has actually improved a little for first-time buyers.”
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