Rightmove says autumn rebound shows 'evidence of some life in the housing market', but that the upturn is most likely due to a shortage of properties

House sellers raised their asking prices by more than £8,000 in October – the biggest jump in eight months – according to figures from property website Rightmove.

The typical asking price for a home in England and Wales rose by 3.5% month-on-month to £243,168, and there were increases across all regions.

The website said the autumn rebound showed "evidence of some life in the market", although it suggested it is most likely to be due to a lack of properties for sale, meaning would-be buyers have less choice.

The rise means prices are 1.5% higher than a year ago and goes some way to reversing an £11,000 drop in asking 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 with a 4.8% jump taking average prices to £478,071.

The south-east and the West Midlands both saw 3.9% increases, while prices rose by 3.8% in the north-west and by 3.4% in Wales. East Anglia saw the smallest increase with a 0.4% rise.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) recently said lending to homebuyers hit a two-year high in August, although it cautioned it was too early to say what long-term effect recent government schemes to kick-start lending are having.

Mortgage availability has been slowly 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 deposits of at least 20%.

Lenders have also toughened their borrowing criteria in recent months and Rightmove said estate agents are still reporting mortgages are no easier to obtain, with lenders "nit-picking" through every detail of applications.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said the increase in asking prices "is most likely attributable to the continued shortage of new property supply".

He added: "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.

Rightmove said 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 overpriced, even if it matches their criteria.

The Rightmove data comes as Halifax and Nationwide both report house price falls. Halifax's index for September showed a 0.4% decrease and a 1.2% year-on-year fall, while Nationwide showed a 0.4% monthly fall and a 1.4% year-on-year fall.

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source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/oct/15/home-sellers-increase-asking-prices-rightmove


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