Sellers’ optimism pushes house prices up by 1.2%

False optimism amongst sellers has prompted a 1.2% rise in house prices over the past month, figures from Rightmove reveal.

The Rightmove House Price Index for February shows that properties are coming onto the market an average of £2,593 higher than January.

But annual house prices continue on the downward trend, with house prices now 9.1% lower than this time last year.

This is the largest annual drop in house prices that Rightmove has ever recorded.

Yet enquiries are flooding in at record levels, with enquiries during January up 108% on the previous year.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, says: “Serious sellers need to set their initial asking price more realistically to get one up on the competition and
take advantage of increasing numbers of bargain-hunters who have set their own price floor ahead of the return of mainstream purchasers.”

Shipside says enquiry levels are not translating into sales as stringent lending criteria is brought to bear.

He adds: “Some agents report only one deposit-strapped enquiry in 40 being able to get a mortgage, with current deposit and income multiple restraints singling out aspiring first-time buyers.

“Unfortunately, the current enquiry feast is being blunted by the mortgage famine.

“While leaving a great opportunity for the cash-rich to strike a deal, it also highlights the extent to which the financial sector needs to put its house in order before market recovery can truly begin.”