Asking prices up by 1.1% in England and Wales in October month on month

The price of property coming onto the market in England and Wales in October increased by an average of 1.1% or £3,432 month on month, according to the latest index.

The data from the Rightmove index also shows that year on year asking prices are up 1.4%, taking the average price of a home to £313,435. This compares to a 1.2% fall month on month in September and 1.1% annual rise.

The Rightmove Index has recorded an increase in asking prices in the month of October every year since it started in 2001, but this month’s is the largest since the 1.4% rise seen in 2014.

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 two regions were asking prices fell month on month were the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber with falls of 0.3% and 0.6% taking average asking prices to £207,821 and £179,653 respectively. But prices are still up 4.7% and 2% year on year.

The biggest month on month price rise was in Greater London with an increase of 3.1% to £629,611 but asking prices are still down by 2.5%. The next biggest rise was 1.5% in the North East. At £151,795, average asking prices are up 5% from a year ago.

Wales saw prices increase month on month by 1.4% to £183,805 and they are up 3.2% year on year, while prices increased by 1.2% month on month and 5.5% year on year on the West Midlands to £219,818 and 0.8% month on month in the South West with an annual rise of 3.6%, taking the average to £308,725.

In the East of England average asking prices were up by 0.7% month on month and by 2.9% year on year to £350,671 and in the South East they crept up on a monthly basis by 0.3% to £414,230 and are 1.2% above a year ago.

However, it also shows that more sellers are chasing fewer buyers and the average time to find a buyer is 63 days. The most likely to sell are second stepper properties, with average time to find a buyer of 60 days, followed by first time buyer properties at 62 days.

Sellers in the North are more likely to find a buyer with sales agreed numbers down by a modest 3% compared to September 2016 while in the South sales are down by 7.9%.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, pointed out that 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. ‘New sellers’ pricing optimism may therefore be unfounded in some parts of the country,’ he said.

He also explained that sales agreed numbers are holding up better in the North, whilst a common factor throughout the country is the lower and middle market sectors being the most active. ‘Where property prices have far outstripped buyers’ wages, and consequently their affordability, sellers will either have to be more tempting with their asking prices or outscore other properties with extra desirable features,’ Shipside added..

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.

‘Accurate pricing is vital to secure a sale as quickly as possible, particularly as buyers are savvier than ever before on their local property market given the host of research tools at their disposal. Buyers will generally have a clear check-list of what they want in a home and they will not pay over the odds in the current climate for something that does not tick all the boxes,’ he said.

However, Kevin Shaw, national sales director at Leaders Estate Agents, pointed out that the market varies significantly from region to region and in the South it is now more price sensitive, whereas in some areas of the Midlands demand continues to outweigh supply and high asking prices are being achieved.

‘Whatever the market conditions, it is always important to set the right price as soon as a property comes onto the market. This is even more crucial if you want to achieve a sale within a specific timeframe. Although the market is now slightly quieter as we continue into October, it certainly is possible to secure a buyer by Christmas,’ he added.

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