9:53 AM, 16th January 2023, About 2 months ago
The average new seller’s asking price went up in January after two months of falls, Rightmove says.
According to its house price index, house prices grew by £3,301 or 0.9%.
However, the average asking price is still £8,720 lower than its peak in October.
The property platform says that it is early days, but there are some signs of positivity in the first few weeks of 2023.
Rightmove is also pointing to a ‘New Year bounce’ with a 4% rise in prospective buyers contacting agents compared with 2019 – and the number is up by 55% compared with the two weeks before Christmas.
Despite this, the number of enquirers is down by a third compared to the buoyant market this time last year.
The platform says that would-be sellers leapt into action to make 5th January the third busiest day ever for vendors asking agents to value their home – this is, Rightmove says, an early sign of confidence for the year ahead.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, said: “The seasonal increase in new seller asking prices this January from December is particularly encouraging for movers who are looking for the reassurance of familiar trends and a calmer, more measured market after the rapidly changing and at times chaotic economic climate of the final few months of last year.
“However, while average asking prices did rise in January, they are still £8,720 less than their peak in October.
“The early-bird sellers who are already on the market and have priced correctly are likely to reap the benefits of the bounce in buyer activity, while over-valuing sellers may get caught out as property stock builds over the next few weeks and months, and they experience more competition from other better-priced sellers in their area.”
He adds: “These statistics based on the largest sample of any UK housing report give reasons for some positivity at the beginning of 2023.
“Given that the pause for Christmas came unexpectedly early last year, it was important to see whether buyers and sellers would pick up their plans again at the beginning of this year or wait to see what the first few months might bring.”
Sarah Coles, a senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Average asking prices rebounded in January, as the new year ushered in a wave of optimism in the property market.
“Buyers were back too, surging in the first week of the year to produce one of the busiest days that Rightmove has ever seen.
“But there are no guarantees that this will translate into higher selling prices or more sales.”
She added: “After two months of falling asking prices, it’s tempting to see this as a change of market dynamics but that’s likely to be unrealistically optimistic.
“January always tends to see a bounce in the market, as people decide to make change in the new year, so this may just be a blip.”
Matthew Thompson, the head of sales at Chestertons, said: “2023 kicked off with a busy property market with high demand from buyers who no longer want to delay their search and want to benefit from a slightly better choice of mortgage products.
“This month so far, our branches noticed a 25% increase in viewings compared to January last year.”
He adds: “Whilst buyer demand is strong, the number of market appraisals remains comparably low as some sellers are still observing how the market might be developing in the first quarter of this year.”
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