House prices jumped up 2% in March while estate agents' optimism continues to rise, the latest survey by the National Association of Estate Agents reveals.
The survey shows that house prices are up 2% from February and 12% from last year - the highest rate of annual inflation for over a year. Sale prices achieved are at an average 97.7% of the asking price - the highest since 2002 But the NAEA says transaction levels remain stable, not helped by the limited number of properties for sale.
Over nine in 10 of estate agents expect prices to rise further and almost two thirds are reporting higher price rise expectations than at the start of the year.
House price inflation rates in London show that the capital is catching up again after a lacklustre year. Monthly rates of inflation of 1.83% are broadly in line with national figures of 1.99%, however the annual rate of increase is only 7.94% compared to the national figure of 11.84%. However, London has the highest density of first-time buyers at 22.6%, with large city bonuses and generally higher incomes enabling new London purchasers to afford higher house prices than elsewhere in the country.
Melfyn Williams, president of the NAEA, says: “This month's survey shows that prices have continued to rise strongly both annually and monthly. Estate agents across the whole country are becoming much more bullish with respect to house price rises this year. In addition, buyers are having to pay even closer to asking prices to secure the properties they want, another indicator of house price rises to come.
“Recent reports of an imminent crash in the housing market have as much foundation as a house built on sand. These commentators are totally detached from the reality on the ground, where estate agents are united in predicting another year of strong price rises across the country.”