Economy

UK House Prices Rise 1.1% In October - Rightmove

Properties in the south of the country proved more hard to sell, with sales agreed down 7.9% compared with 3% in the north. In addition, the number of sales agreed was running ahead of 2016 over the summer, but has now fallen back with a 5.9% decrease compared to last September.

The price of property coming to market has seen a monthly increase of 1.1% in October, the Rightmove House Price Index has revealed.

Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk, added: "The north-south divide is no new division where United Kingdom house prices are concerned but a slower market climate in recent times has seen the divide nearly reversed with the more affordable areas in the North performing much better where actual price growth is concerned".

Sellers of homes targeted at second-steppers - people moving up from the first rung on the ladder - will have the easiest time in finding a buyer before Christmas.

According to Nick Leeming, chairman at Jackson-Stops, the driving force behind the slowdown in sales in September is the combination of a lack of supply of homes to the market and potential buyers being warier than usual due to the prospect of increasing interest rates. While they rose 3.1 per cent on the month, driven by owners of more expensive properties, achieving these prices is far from assured as buyers now have more choice, according to Rightmove director Miles Shipside. 'We are seeing more and more regional differences in the property market, so selecting an agent with detailed knowledge of your area is key to success, ' he said. Affordability is a hot political topic in the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Theresa May's government announced an extension of its "Help to Buy" mortgage-assistance program earlier this month, though economists questioned its effectiveness in London where house prices are still double the national average and 10 times the earnings of a first-time buyer.

Shipside observes: 'Whilst affordability is stretched, it is still countered by the motivation to own a home rather than rent, or the need for extra space to house a growing family.

Prices for those at the top of property ladder have edged up 0.7 per cent to £554,246.

"With the UK market showing positive signs of a recovery over the last few months it is unlikely the average UK seller will struggle as we approach one of the busiest periods in the UK property market calendar".

The data also shows that new sellers asked higher prices in eight out of 10 regions despite sales agreed numbers being down in nine in October compared to September 2016 and despite the current challenging environment, sales agreed numbers year to date are still 1.1% ahead of 2016. The extra challenge to sell these larger properties is especially noticeable in London, where the average time to find a buyer is now 86 days.

It is regions in the southern half of the country that are dipping most with an average of 7.9 per cent lower sales being agreed than this time a year ago, whilst the northern half performs somewhat better with a fall of only 3.0 per cent. Get that right and it will hopefully mean the present of a successful sale for Christmas and the gift of a new home in the new year.

Chris Chapman, managing director at Andrews Estate Agents, agrees that the key is getting the price right.

It noted that the East of England is still the strongest growing region, helped by strong performance in the likes of Bedfordshire (up 9.3 per cent annually).



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