£200,000 barrier smashed

Ramesh Sharma

February 25, 2006

The Rightmove House Price Index for February reports prices rose by 2.7 per cent (£5,281), the largest monthly rise in nearly two years. All regions saw prices rise for the first time since May 2004 and on average property took 81 days to sell, down from 94 days reported in January.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said: “The market’s picked up quickly this year. As a result properties are selling quicker and stock levels are declining. House prices have stormed through the £200,000 barrier to record levels several months earlier than the market anticipated.

“Buyers are back particularly at the lower end of the market. We believe this will lead to further sales as successful sellers move up the property ladder. However sellers must not get too ambitious or the recovery could run out of steam as affordability is over-stretched again.”

Mehrdad Yousefi, head of intermediary mortgages at Alliance & Leicester, said: “It’s not entirely surprising that asking prices are reported to have jumped up to £200,000. Given that the average house price is around £187,000 it’s not unrealistic to hear that vendors are marketing properties with asking prices which have an additional premium of 6 per cent or 7 per cent. The purchase market has been busier than many anticipated at the start of this year in London and the South East.

“However first-time buyer clients shouldn’t be too downhearted at these reported prices as many properties still come in well under this amount and house price inflation is forecast by most industry commentators to be in single digits in the year ahead.”

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