Average Asking Prices Nudge Up 0.8%, but There is Trouble on the Terraces

Mar 21, 2011, 08:19 ET from Rightmove Group Ltd

LONDON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rightmove House Price Index for March 2011 was released today and finds that the average asking price for properties being brought to the market increased by 0.8% in the past month to 231,7090 pounds Sterling.

Search activity on Rightmove broke previous records in three out of the four weeks of February, and this increase in market activity no doubt influenced estate agents to nudge up new sellers' average asking prices by 0.8% over the past month. After a couple of months of uncertainty, estate agents are now reporting that the higher levels of enquiries and viewings experienced in January and February are slowly converting into more concrete offers and agreed sales. Average time on the market for a property has fallen from 98 to 89 days while unsold properties per branch increased by an average of just one, indicating that the pace of sales agreed has picked up to nearly cancel out the spring sellers who normally increase agents' stock levels at this time of year.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove comments: "The falling time on the market and stable spring stock levels would normally point to a healthy housing market. However, this year's celebrations will be severely muted by the knots the market has found itself tied up in. This month's number of sellers, still handcuffed by a lack of equity, has managed to limp just ahead of the number of deposit-shackled buyers, but the market is still restrained by low transaction volumes and restricted liquidity."

Agents report that the tightening of lending criteria has hit prospective buyers of terraced properties hardest, as they are least able to save the necessary deposits. Rightmove have found that over half of those in rented accommodation cite mortgage availability and affordability as their main barriers to buying. In response to fewer buyers for this type of property, new stock of terraced houses has fallen by 31% on 2007.

Shipside adds: "Terraces' target audience of would-be first-time buyers are stuck in rented accommodation, with 30% of them in our recent survey expecting to stay there for 3 years or more. Yield-hungry buy-to-let investors or buyers with gifted deposits are the main hopes for a terrace seller."

For further statistics and to download the Rightmove March 2011 House Price Index please visit - http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index or search for local house prices at http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices.html

Rightmove Press Office, press@rightmove.co.uk, 0207 087 0700

SOURCE Rightmove Group Ltd