THE average house price in the UK rose by just £14 from January to February, according to new figures.
Property website Rightmove said the increase was the smallest they had ever recorded – but said it was good news for many.
“We’re heading into the busiest season of the year for home-movers. More people start their search for a new home in spring, and we start seeing more properties listed for sale,” a spokesperson said.
“Which means we also usually see average asking prices rise at this time of year, too. This is because new sellers can price their homes for a competitive buyer market.”
The average house price was now £362,452, they said.
“Although this is the smallest increase from January to February that we’ve ever recorded, we see it as an early sign of a more positive housing market for home-movers in the year ahead, as we’re not seeing significant price falls that some were predicting for this year,” the spokesperson said.
Tim Bannister, a property expert at Rightmove, added: “The big question this month was whether we’d see new sellers increasing their asking prices, which is what we usually see as we approach the spring selling season.
“This month’s flat average asking price indicates that many sellers are showing restraint when pricing their homes.
“We’re moving into a slower-paced market. Buyers will take longer to find the right home at the right price due to the higher cost of repaying a mortgage.”
However, Rightmove said many buyers are ready to get on with their moves, with the number of potential buyers making enquiries to estate agents rising by 11% in recent weeks, compared to the same period in 2019, the last time we saw a ‘normal’ housing market.
Tim added: “Estate agents are now reporting they’re increasingly seeing buyers who have more confidence and more choice, albeit with revised budgets to accommodate mortgage rates.
“It’s a positive sign for the housing market to see many first-time buyers getting on with their moves.
“Average mortgage rates have edged down, but some first-time buyers will unfortunately still be priced out of their original plans.
“They may need to look for a cheaper property, save a bigger deposit, or factor higher monthly mortgage repayments into their budgets now.”