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Average house price creeps up in January: Rightmove

Rightmove’s January house price index outlines a “muted rise” in prices, but a 5 per cent rise in prospective buyers searching for a house.

The price of the average property coming to market grew 0.4 per cent in January 2019, the lowest monthly increase since January 2012.

This compares to house price performance in December, when prices dropped 1.5 per cent in the month.

The data reports the national average has been brought down due to ‘new to the market sellers’.

The reported price rise represents a £1,207 increase, with the current asking price at £298,734.

Rightmove believe northern regions to be benefiting more, regarding pricing power and willingness to move.

Additionally, three out of 11 regions have seen the average house price drop on a monthly basis: Wales by 1.9 per cent, Greater London by 1.5 per cent and the East Midlands by 0.3 per cent.

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside says: “As we move from the old year into the new, the headline summary is that the Christmas slowdown came early and the hangover lasted a few days longer into the New Year than usual.

“Agents report that activity is now picking up, though when you dig underneath the national averages, the first snapshot of 2019 shows a somewhat patchy and variable picture depending on where you are in the country.

“Broadly speaking, buyer affordability and sentiment are in more positive territory in the north than in the south. But wherever you are looking to buy, mortgage rates are still at historically very cheap levels and lenders are competing hard to lend.

“In 2018 the number of sales agreed by estate agents was down by only 3 per cent on 2017, an indicator of resilience and holding up much better than many had forecast.”

Bluestone Mortgages director of sales and marketing Steve Seal says: “Extending last year’s pre-Christmas dip, there’s no denying it’s a buyers’ market.

“Even with this though, many still struggle to find their way onto the housing ladder. A lack of affordable housing plays a contributing factor.”

Connells Group Estate Agency chief executive David Plumtree comments “As expected, we continue to see a shortage of buyers despite having more available stock, and this is more pronounced in London and the East.

“Brexit concerns are, of course, the cause for hesitancy amongst buyers and we don’t expect any change in this until we see some certainty.

“There remains a good deal of price reduction activity on unsold stock in order to stimulate interest from buyers and we expect to see very modest growth in average house prices in 2019.”

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