Asking prices rise for third month on the bounceBut some asking prices cut by at least 2% per week

20 April 2009


Property asking prices increased for the third month in a row during April, jumping by 1.8%, figures show.

But property website Rightmove stressed that many sellers were still pricing their homes too high and there was unlikely to be a sustained recovery until mortgage availability improved.

The group added that around 16,000 sellers were reducing their asking price by at least 2% each week.

Rightmove: asking prices too high

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said: 'My view is that many sellers are still starting too high, but the fact that they are coming to market in greater numbers and feel they can ask more shows a strengthening in resolve and confidence, which is an encouraging sign.

Property selling faster

There was also a fall in the average time a property is on the market for before it sells, with this dropping from 81 days to 77 days.

The jump in asking prices added nearly £4,000 to the cost of the average home in England and Wales, leaving it at £222,077.

It also contributed to an easing in the annual rate at which prices are falling, with homes losing 7.3% of their value during the year to April 11, down from a 9% drop during the 12 months to March 7.

Regional house price variations

East Anglia saw the biggest rise in asking prices during the month, with a 5.1% increase, followed by Wales at 4.8% and the South East at 4.2%.

Greater London was the only region of England and Wales to see price falls during the month, with asking prices dropping by 3.2%.

Estate agents are continuing to see an increase in sales, beyond the 19% jump in mortgage approvals for house purchase during February reported by the Bank of England.

But feedback from agents suggests that homes are still selling for around 25% less than their peak price in many cases.

Housing market confidence

In a further sign that confidence is returning to the market, the number of sellers has also increased, with 22,260 people putting their homes up for sale each week during the five weeks to April 11.

The figure was 13% more than during the previous month, although it remained 19% lower than in April last year.

The increase led to a slight rise in the number of homes the average estate agent had on their books to 72, although Rightmove stressed that the overall number of properties available remains at historically low levels, which is underpinning initial asking prices.