The latest house price index from online portal Rightmove shows that the price of property listed for sale in the UK has increased by 1% compared to the previous month.
Despite a reduction in sales volumes in a more uncertain market, home sellers remain optimistic as we approach a busy time of year for the UK property sales, with eight out of ten regions seeing an increase in the asking price of property.
According to Rightmove the current average time to find a buyer is 63 days, so those looking to get their sale over the line before Christmas should just about do so with a week to spare.
However, perhaps rather obviously, Rightmove have highlighted that in a slower market it is the top end home sellers who are most likely to struggle to sell their home at an average time of 76 days, with “second-steppers” (60 days) and first-time buyers (62 days) more likely to find a buyer.
Rightmove have also highlighted a north-south divide in the UK property market as the more affordable Northern market has faired far better against buyer hesitations with sales agreed down just 3% since September to 7.9% in the more inflated southern market.
However, the market remains in fairly good health with overall sales agreed still up 1.1% on this time last year as many pockets continue to enjoy high levels of buyer demand compared to stock available for purchase.
The North East has enjoyed the largest monthly price growth outside of London, with an increase of 1.5%. Despite London having seen a recent slowdown in price growth due to the Brexit hesitation from foreign buyers, reduction in buy-to-let interest and a “wait and see” approach from regular buyers due to the cool in house price growth, the capital has still seen the largest monthly price increase at 3.1%.
The north-south divide is no new division where UK house prices are concerned but a slower market climate in recent times has seen the divide almost reversed with the more affordable areas in the North performing much better where actual price growth is concerned.
Of course, it goes without saying that those with a “top of the ladder” property will find it harder to sell as these properties take a bit more time whatever the market conditions.
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.
I certainly don’t think there are more sellers chasing fewer buyers as the level of housing stock, or lack thereof, continues to be the driving factor behind UK price growth. There are many pockets of the UK outside of the top-end market in London and the South East that are still seeing an imbalance between the level of buyer demand to houses available.Russell Quirk