Rightmove reports house prices rising

House prices strengthened in February as mortgage rates continued to fall.

According to Rightmove‘s latest house price index, average new seller prices rose by 0.9% on the month, or 0.1% year-on-year.

It is the first time the annual price change has edged into positive territory after six months of falls.

In January, prices rose 1.3% on the month but fell 0.7% year-on-year.

The average asking price is now £362,839.

Agreed sales in the first six weeks of 2024 jumped 16% on the same period a year earlier. There were also upticks in new listings and buyer enquiries, both up 7% year-on-year.

Tim Bannister, director of property science at Rightmove, said: “Early-bird Boxing Day buyers got a head start in cherry-picking from a record level of new property choice and have now been joined many other buyers also believing that 2024 offers the right market conditions to move.

“Mortgage rates have fallen considerably from their peak and are now remaining broadly stable after the uncertainty of late 2022 and 2023.

“Momentum to move in 2024 is continuing to build.”

However, Rightmove noted that the market remained particularly price-sensitive, with cheaper homes selling more quickly than higher-priced properties.

On average it is taking more than two weeks longer to find a buyer than it was this time last year. Stripping out the pandemic, the average time to sell is its slowest since 2015.

The Bank of England increased the cost of borrowing 14 times as it looked to tackle surging inflation, to 5.25%.

However, it has left rates unchanged since August and most analysts agree the next move will be a cut.

Mortgage rates, meanwhile, soared in response to the government’s disastrous mini Budget in 2022. But they have started to moderate in recent months.

 

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