Asking prices continue to rise in Britain, with signs of renewed activity in London

Asking prices in Britain increased by 0.7% or £2,088 on average this month and are still some 1.2% higher than a year ago, according to the latest national index.

The data from property portal Rightmove also shows that after years of price falls, parts of London are seeing signs of renewed buyer activity at the upper end of the housing market with a 6% rise in sales agreed for homes of £750,000 and over compared to September 2017.

Overall, it adds that the housing market currently has stronger momentum in areas with better affordability and sentiment, with prices up by 4.7% in the East Midlands, by 4.6% in Wales, by 4.5% in the West Midlands and by 4% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

But it also points out that stretched buyer affordability or negative market sentiment in other regions are limiting price growth. Prices are down year on year by 1.1% in the North East, by 0.5% in London and by 0.1% in the South East, with the East of England just reaching positive territory with a rise of 0.3%.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove housing analysis, pointed out that London is a barometer and sometimes a catalyst for rises and falls in the rest of the UK housing market.

Miles Shipside said:

‘The recovery in the upper end in London is encouraging but the painful and drawn-out process of price reductions has yet to run its course especially in parts of Outer London and the commuter belt that saw very sizeable and unsustainable price rises.

‘More sellers and agents will need to re-adjust their expectations to be in line with what buyers are willing or able to pay, as it seems that buyers are out there if the price is right.’

Agents are also reporting a pickup in London.

Joseph Robinson, director for Stirling Ackroyd said:

‘Over the past few months we’re seeing positive signs of improvement within the sector. Not only have we just had a record July and August with regards to properties exchanging contracts, we’ve also seen a rise in sales being agreed across our offices, with an increase of 62% over the past two months alone.

‘It has been occurring for years, but the London market really is shifting. The applicants viewing with us are majority first and second time buyers, but there has been a large rise in applicants at the upper end of the market not only viewing, but also purchasing. We feel confidence is returning to the London market after a long hiatus.

According to Geoff Wilford, founder of Wilfords Estate Agents in London, sales enquiries are up 15% in comparison to this time last year and sales agreed up 10%.

Geoff Wilford said:

‘Prices in central London have softened by 15% since the peak of the market in 2014.

‘Buyer enquiries are up with a number of people believing now is a good time to buy when other people are selling. The current levels of pent up demand will result in a price increase, as was witnessed back in 2013. In my opinion the smart money is buying now.’


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