House hunters undeterred by political uncertainty as average asking price rises 1.2% to record high in may
The average asking price for a property in the UK reached a record high in May, defying speculation that Brexit and the General Election have put the brakes on the housing market.
According to Rightmove, the average price tag on a home is now £317,281, a rise of 1.2 per cent or £3,626 on the previous peak of £313,655 in April.
The property website said while pre-election periods often prompt a delay in buyer activity, the recent price growth the firm has seen and ‘strong’ year-to-date numbers of sales agreed highlight that many people are not put off.
Undeterred: Buyers are defying economic uncertainties the upcoming general election
Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: ‘Whilst all-time high asking prices or economic and political uncertainty could be deterrents to would-be home buyers, this month shows another strong set of figures.
‘Demand is exceeding supply in many parts of the country and continues to push up the prices of newly-marketed homes. Spring is in the air and home movers are springing up the housing ladder.’
Shipside added, ‘What seems to be happening is that moving pressures are understandably taking priority over electioneering and Brexit worries. For many in this group, it seems that moving is definitely on their manifesto.’
The strongest sector for price growth appears to be typical family homes.
People’s moving needs are taking priority over uncertainty surrounding Brexit
The asking price on a typical ‘second stepper’ home bought by families looking to improve from the first property they ever bought has increased by 5.4 per cent over the last year to reach £270,953.
Homes targeted by people looking to take their second step on the property ladder are typically three-bedroom homes or properties with four bedrooms, which are not detached, according to Rightmove.
Estate agents Jackson-Stops and Staff’s chairman, Nick Leeming said, ‘Our branches in the home counties across Surrey and Kent are seeing particularly strong interest from second steppers.
‘These are typically young families who bought their first home in London around four to five years ago. Some will have taken advantage of the Help to Buy incentive, and nearly all would have benefited from a significant equity increase in their home.’
Rightmove’s figures demonstrate that asking prices have increased annually across the regions, with prices in Wales with the smallest annual increase, at a 0.7 per cent uplift taking the average price there to £182,769.
The West Midlands has seen the biggest annual rise in asking prices
London has the next smallest annual increase, with a 0.9 per cent upswing lifting the average asking price there to £649,864.
The West Midlands has seen the biggest annual jump in asking prices, with a 5.9 per cent increase taking the average asking price to £218,620.
David Westgate, chief executive of Andrews Property Group, said: ‘The fundamental elements of a strong market are still in existence to boost buyer activity.’
Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented: ‘Interesting that Rightmove should have observed no wobble in the market where asking prices are concerned, despite the industry indices based on sale completions stating otherwise.
He added, ‘UK buyers are still sitting tight despite a marginal cool in market demand and are yet to reduce their price expectations.
Overall, the predominant air of confidence seen in the market over the last year from UK home sellers seems to be persisting and this, in turn, should see price growth stabilise.’