UK asking prices up just 0.4% but first time buyers paying much more

Taylor Scott International News

Property asking prices in the UK increased by the modest amount of just 0.4% in May, taking the average price to £308,151, according to the latest index figures. But it is first time buyers who have faced the highest rises, with the data from property portal Rightmove showing that for this segment of the market asking prices increased by 6.2% month on month and 11.4% year on year. In some areas first time buyers have seen prices rise even more with Croydon, Dartford and Luton recording an annual price surge of 18%. Those moving up the housing ladder have fared better with second steppers seeing prices fall 0.8% month on month, but they are still paying some 8.1% more than a year ago. The report points out that it was speculated that the investor activity drop-off after the April additional home stamp duty deadline would act as a brake on prices at the lower end of the market. However, intense investor activity, with March transaction numbers up a massive 80% on last year, exacerbated the property drought in this sector and is now causing upwards price pressure. This resulted in prices for properties with two bedrooms or less, typical first time buyer homes, increasing. ‘If you were expecting a long period of price doldrums at the lower end of the market following the mass exit of the buy to let brigade, this month’s 6.2% price rise will come as a big surprise,’ said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst. ‘Properties at the lower end of the market were the most common target for the investor community, and the immediate aftermath of the tax deadline saw new seller asking prices drop in this sector for just one month. The 1.4% fall reported in April’s index appears to have been a very short lived knee jerk, with an average price surge of £11,298 this month for properties coming to market with two bedrooms or fewer,’ he explained. ‘It remains to be seen if these prices can be achieved and there may be some over pricing in the market; it is also a reflection of better quality property coming to market in this sector which is now targeting owner-occupiers rather than landlords,’ he added. He pointed out that since November when it was announced that an extra 3% stamp duty would be charged on additional homes and its implementation at the end of March, the price of property coming to market in this first time buyer/investor sector increased by 3%. In just four weeks it has now risen by 6.2%, the highest monthly rise recorded for this sector since February 2012. The report also show that demand for typical entry level property remains high, with searches on Rightmove specifying two bedrooms or fewer being up by 47% in April compared to April 2015 in spite of waning investor interest. In contrast, fresh supply for this sector is down by 1.5% in the last four… Taylor Scott International

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