15 Oct House prices rise to eight-month high
The asking price of an average UK home jumped 3.5 per cent in the past month, according to property website Rightmove. The property search website said the autumn rebound showed “evidence of some life in the market”, although it suggested the upturn is most likely to be due to a lack of properties for sale, meaning would-be buyers have less choice.
The jump means prices are 1.5pc higher than a year ago and goes some way to reversing an £11,000 drop in prices between June and September, when the market saw a lull amid distractions like the Olympics.
London, which has had strong overseas buyer interest and continues to perform relatively strongly, saw the biggest monthly increase in asking prices, with a 4.8pc jump taking average prices to £478,071.
The South East and the West Midlands both saw 3.9pc increases, while prices rose by 3.8pc in the North West and by 3.4pc in Wales, while East Anglia saw the smallest increase, with a 0.4pc rise.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said last week that mortgage lending to home buyers hit a two-year high in August, although it cautioned that it is too early to say what long-term effect recently-launched Government schemes to kickstart lending are having.
Mortgage availability has been increasing since an £80bn funding for lending scheme was launched at the start of August, although much of this has so far been concentrated around people with larger deposits of at least 20pc.
Lenders have also toughened their borrowing criteria in recent months and Rightmove said estate agents are still reporting that mortgages are no easier to obtain, with lenders “nit-picking” through every detail of applications.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said increase in asking prices “is most likely attributable to the continued shortage of new property supply”.
But he cautioned: “Sellers need to be mindful that the window of opportunity to sell before the traditional winter slowdown is a narrow one, and they risk being left out in the cold for months until the spring market thaw.
“In addition, estate agents are reporting that mortgages are still no easier to obtain, with risk-averse lenders nit-picking every detail of the mortgage application paperwork, even from buyers who seem squeaky clean.”
Rightmove said that its own research has found that fewer than two in five would-be buyers say they will arrange to visit a property they believe is over-priced, even if it matches their criteria.