New regional price highs push up national average

Michael Lloyd

June 17, 2019

New all-time price highs in East Midlands, North West, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber have pushed the national average to within £91 of a new record despite a backdrop of political uncertainty, Rightmove has found.

Rightmove’s House Price Index has showed these regions are outperforming the national average in the number of properties coming to market and the levels of sales agreed so far in 2019.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “With the country supposedly consumed by the twists and turns of Brexit, it’s surprising that the price of property coming to market is within a whisker of setting a new record.

“At £91 below June 2018’s figure of £309,439, it’s within touching distance of the previous high.

“More buoyant markets in the North and Midlands are helping to nudge up prices due to the seemingly relentless strength of buyer demand. Buyers in four regions are seeing higher new seller asking prices on average than ever before.”

In the East Midlands, new seller supply is up by 0.3%, in Yorkshire and the Humber it’s down by just 0.2%, in Wales it’s fallen by 2.5% and in the North West it’s dropped off by 2.7%. The price of newly-marketed property rises by an average of 0.3% (£1,058) this month.

At the mid-point of 2019 new seller supply remains constrained nationally, down by an average of 5% versus the same period in 2018. This regional pattern is also evident in the number of sales being agreed, though again the more difficult national market backdrop has an effect.

Shipside added: “The national trend sees new seller supply down by an average of 5% so far this year compared to the same time last year, indicating some hesitancy on the part of would-be sellers, especially notable in parts of the south.

“However, these better performing northerly regions are all beating that national average.”

Sales agreed for the year are so far holding up better in the northern regions, down by only 1.7% year-on-year, compared to 7.1% in the south indicating some hesitancy to engage in the market.

Shipside said: “The national market faces a range of challenges, with overall average asking prices barely changed from last year, and activity levels slightly lower.

“Some buyers are hesitant due to the long-drawn-out uncertainty of Brexit, and there is also a slight tightening of mortgage availability and stretched buyer affordability, especially when it comes to raising a deposit.

“There is however a marked north/south divide as all northern regions are selling better than those in the southern part of the UK.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, added: “London continues to cool where seller expectation is concerned but this decline is starting to slow and the time it’s taking to sell has also reduced considerably, suggesting more realistic asking price trends are enticing buyers back into the fray.

“Affordability and Brexit uncertainty continue to act as market anchors but not to the degree that we’ve seen in previous months.

“The silver lining to faltering asking price levels and the addition of low mortgage rates is that market conditions are currently perfect for first-time buyers and as a result, it is this demographic leading the charge in a market otherwise blighted by Brexit angst.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said this data shows that the market is feeling confident, or at least people have decided that if they need or want to move, then now is the time to do so.

He said: “Political uncertainty can only bring buyers and sellers to a standstill to a certain extent.

“What is a real positive is that the average house price is nearly at a record level, while the southern regions are down. This shows that it is the activity and demand in the northern regions which is pushing prices up, rather than already high-valued properties in London.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “Looking forward, it is clear some areas are more price-sensitive than others and Brexit is not a big issue everywhere.

“Nevertheless, political certainty will add to confidence and is likely to release more pent-up demand as buyers and sellers can’t sit on their hands indefinitely.”

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