UK asking prices rise 1.7% in March

The average UK property asking price rose 1.7 per cent in March, from £235,741 in February to reach £239,710.

These latest results from the Rightmove house price index reveal the highest ever new seller asking prices in the month of March. The average asking price is at its highest level since October 2012 when it was £243,168.

Asking prices rose 1.2 per cent on an annualised basis, up from £236,939 in March 2012.

The average time properties are spending on the market is currently 80 days, down from 90 in March 2012.

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside says: “In today’s turbulent world where economic crises seem more likely to re-appear than disappear, any market upturn will take longer to build home-mover confidence to the point that it starts to feed through to actual transactions. Even those who truly believe that the market has turned a corner may be unable to do anything about it due to lenders’ cautious risk profiling, a significant factor limiting the speed and strength of the recovery.

“However, with new sellers asking more than ever before as we enter the traditionally busy spring market and an expectation among home-movers of price stability or growth, there is now a bedrock upon which confidence and momentum appear to be building.”

The strongest monthly performance on a regional basis was registered by the South East where asking prices rose 4.2 per cent from £215,037 in February to £215,120.

The West Midlands was the only region to experience a decline in average property asking prices in March, as prices fell 0.5 per cent from £186,094 In February to £185,942.

Of the 40,000 respondents, 60 per cent expect property prices to be roughly the same this time next year while 23 per cent predict prices will be higher. A minority, 11 per cent, expect prices will be lower.

Legal & General Mortgage Club managing director Ben Thompson says: “Positivity around the UK housing market is starting to slowly but surely gain momentum. All the signs seem to be that we are starting to move towards a return to ‘normality’ in house prices by 2017 and although we have along path to tread we are on the way down it. The upward trend outlined by Rightmove is yet another indicator that this positivity is not misplaced.

“The hope is that the Chancellor will recognise the importance of the housing market to the economy in his Budget. Whether via mortgage innovation, mortgage insurance, a change in stamp duty rules or a combination of all three it’s crucial that Mr Osborne gives the recovery the support it needs to take root and grow.”