A fresh burst of optimism from home sellers has pushed the average asking price of properties coming onto the market to less than £100 away from a new record high.
Despite the dampening effect of continuing political uncertainty, the average asking price of a home in the UK stands at £309,348 – just £91 below the peak of £309,439 seen a year ago, according to property website, Rightmove.
Average asking prices increased by 0.3 per cent – or £1,058 – in the month to mid-June and new all-time highs were recorded in four locations, the East Midlands, at £230,462, the North West, at £200,744, Wales, at £202,100 and Yorkshire and the Humber, at £194,581.
But in London, asking prices continued to slip, down 0.4 per cent over the month to an average of £618,880
Rightmove’s map shows how the Midlands and North are outperforming the rest of the UK
There has been no annual change in national average asking prices, according to Rightmove
Over the past year, asking prices are flat on average across the UK. However, London, the South East, South West and the East of England have all seen asking prices fall annually, Rightmove said, whereas elsewhere they are rising year-on-year.
The market appears far more active in the four top-performing regions, where both new sellers coming to market and sales agreed are better when compared to the national average.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, 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.’
However, despite the near record high, Rightmove said the supply of fresh properties coming on the market is down by around five per cent this year so far compared to a year earlier, suggesting there is still some hesitancy among sellers.
Regional differences are still marked with less would-be sellers in London and the South coming to market, meaning there is less property choice for buyers and fewer sales agreed in those regions.
By comparison, all northern regions are selling better than those in the southern part of the UK.
Sales agreed for the year so far have been found to be holding up much better in Britain’s northern regions, down by just 1.7 per cent year on year, compared to 7.1 per cent in the south – indicating hesitancy to engage in the market.
Mr Shipside added: ‘These better-performing northerly regions are all beating that national average.
‘In the East Midlands, new seller supply is up by 0.3 per cent, in Yorkshire and the Humber it’s down by just 0.2 per cent, in Wales it’s fallen by 2.5 per cent and in the North West it’s dropped off by 2.7 per cent.’
The monthly asking price for properties in Britain has steadily increased since the end of 2018
The average number of sales being agreed in Britain in the first half of the year is down by just 4.3 per cent on the same period last year but there has been no annual change in the national average asking price.
However, the regions which have set new price records are seeing sales hold up better than the average across Britain.
Sales in Wales are 0.2 per cent ahead of the same period a year earlier, those in Yorkshire and the Humber are down by 1.9 per cent, sales in the North West have fallen by 3.3 per cent, whilst sales in the East Midlands have also seen a 3.7 per cent decrease.
Those looking to sell in more difficult locations may need to undercut the asking prices of similar properties and preferably have a well-finished home to make a sale, Rightmove said.
Increase: Asking prices have increased across Britain over the course of the last five years
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: ‘Of course these are just asking, not selling prices, but they still represent useful and interesting market trends showing how the market is very patchy and varies from street to street, not just region to region.
These are just asking, not selling prices, but they still represent useful and interesting market trends showing how the market is very patchy
Jeremy Leaf, estate agent
‘Asking prices are often determined by buyer or estate agent optimism and expectation, not necessarily realism but the increase in sales agreed is particularly relevant as it also reflects nervousness among sellers and lack of choice for increasing numbers of buyers in many places.
‘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.’