Century's Lowest Stock Levels Provide a Spring Window for Sellers - Rightmove House Price Index January 2010

Jan 18, 2010, 02:00 ET from Rightmove

LONDON, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ --Rightmove, the UK's number one property website, today releases its House Price Index for January 2010. The survey reveals that the average asking price for a property in the UK has risen by 0.4% on December figures to 222,261 pounds Sterling, an increase of 4.1% on January 2009.

If your New Year's resolution is to move home, you should note that the first house price statistics relating to activity in 2010 show increases in both seller confidence and buyer interest. The optimism of sellers who have come to market so far in January has resulted in a 0.4% rise, causing a big turnaround in figures that were on course for a third consecutive monthly fall. This coincides with potential home-mover activity hitting new record highs, with the Rightmove website recording its busiest ever week.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove comments: "This rise in asking prices is an early indicator that new sellers in 2010 have the confidence to try for a higher price, as the index was lined up for a fall until the turn of the year. We were expecting a drop of about 1%, as the majority of this month's index falls in December, but the optimism of those early January sellers flipped it around. With home-movers setting new search records on Rightmove and a lack of property for sale, the decision of post New Year sellers to ask for higher house prices could be a shrewd move. In spite of problems brewing for later in the year, there are definitely some of the ingredients for a buoyant spring, and a window of opportunity that sellers may wish to take advantage of."

The number of available properties per estate agency branch is now 63, its lowest level since January 2008. However, with many estate agency branches having closed, this figure is buoyed by the smaller number of branches sharing the available stock. This month's index records 50,624 properties coming to market, and whilst a 15% increase on last year, this is still massively down on the 89,000 average of the same period in 2006 and 2007. Lack of supply has been driven by reduced access to mortgage funds, economic uncertainty and a low level of forced sales.

One of the first signs of the 2009 recovery was record January traffic on Rightmove, indicating pent-up buyer interest. Rightmove has again recorded its busiest ever week, with 157,402,812 pages viewed between the 4th and 10th of January, up 26% on the first working week of 2009. Shipside observes: "This is the busiest ever start to a new year on Rightmove. As ever, this time of year sees potential buyers starting to search for their dream home. Those who held off from selling during 2009 are now researching what competition they face in their local area and assessing which estate agents might be best placed to sell their property."

Shipside summarizes: "Within the shrunken housing market that has become the current norm, there are very active market segments where buyers and sellers who are able to proceed are getting together and are striking deals. While there are political and economic clouds on the horizon, there are signs that we are in for an active spring before the storm breaks later in the year."

For further statistics and to download the Rightmove December 2009 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

SOURCE Rightmove