Property Industry Reacts To Rightmove House Price Index

Asking prices for homes coming to the market were flat this month, as the housing market continued to cool, the latest data from Rightmove shows.

The property portal said the average asking price was £375,110 for property put on sale between 12 May and 8 June, down just £21 from a month earlier.

The Rightmove data, which is not seasonally adjusted, typically rises in the June period, although last year’s reading for the month was also flat.

Less expensive and more northerly regions are seeing stronger price growth this month, with five of the six cheapest regions reaching new price records while the higher-priced East of England and London lag behind.

Industry reactions:

Ian Preston, Group CEO at Preston Baker, said: “The government’s decision to call a general election hasn’t made an appreciable difference to market conditions. We saw a small dip last week in listing numbers, but this is easily explained as the traditional dip that we would normally see in the half term week, when more families choose to go away. Whichever government is chosen, the priority must be increasing the supply of new homes. Investment in the local authority planning system, to speed up applications, is the priority. The rental price growth has been extraordinary over the past few years, and landlord friendly policies will be required to attract landlords back into the market.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, commented: “Although only reflecting asking or aspirational prices, these Rightmove figures mirror a trend we have also noticed in our offices.

“Activity has reduced over the past few weeks probably more as a direct result of a likely delay in the cut of base rates than the forthcoming election. On the other hand, caution is more prevalent in demand for larger, more expensive properties where any tax changes are more likely to be felt after 4th July, whichever party is successful.

“Overall, viewings are down a little compared with the previous month, but buyers and sellers are in pause, not stop, mode as we’re not seeing unexpected withdrawals from transactions or serious re-negotiations.

“It’s still a buyers’ market generally so sellers must be realistic if they are to achieve their aims.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “It’s extremely positive to see stability within the housing market and despite a challenging period of high inflation and elevated interest rates, we are witnessing people approach the market with growing confidence. If conditions permit, we are hopeful to see the Bank of England start reducing the base rate when they next meet on Thursday. Should this happen, a potential raft of competitive mortgage deals over the coming weeks would be very welcome news for many people.”

Matt Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, remarked: “We are now in the last days of the typically busy spring market and, compared to last month, are seeing a bounce in buyer activity. Particularly since the date for the General Election has been announced, house hunters who have been on the fence due to political uncertainty have become more confident about going ahead with their purchase. As a result, we expect June to conclude with a heightened level of buyer interest.”

Anthony Codling, RBC Capital Markets, noted: “We have frequently said that we see no evidence that elections impact the level of housing transactions, and today’s Rightmove data lends further support to our view that homebuyers intentions are not blown off course by politicans’ hot air. For most of us life goes on as normal, because most of us live outside the Westminster Bubble. Whilst the political debates rage on, in the housing market the number of sales agreed continues to rise and asking prices are steady. It seems that homebuyers are driven by the conditions in the housing market today rather than the promises and pledges being made about the housing market for tomorrow.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, commented: “With the general election looming, we are seeing some caution but overall confidence within the market, as buyers are not too frightened of what might come.

“As mortgage rates seem to be holding firm, some buyers are still waiting for a change, with indications looking like a reduction will be coming.

“With a Labour government likely, there are some fears of untold taxes which could affect the market. Help is needed within the property market, but will Labour listen and act?

“Northern markets are seeing a bigger boost in values and sales. The lower ends of the markets are usually the first to feel the difference whether positive or negative, due to the bigger market affordability within these price ranges.”

Adam Feather, managing director at Robert Anthony Estate Agents, said: “House prices were largely unchanged in June, which is unsurprising given the state of the wider economy and upcoming general election. Market activity remains resilient, with some evidence of an improvement in confidence about the economic outlook, and this is reflected in the fact that property prices have remained static.”

Myles Moloney, area sales manager at Chase Buchanan, added: “June’s property market to date has remained positive and house hunters with larger equity and buying power have pushed on to agree a sale as they feel the result of the election is forgone. Buyers who are only just starting their property search, however, have been slightly more cautious to observe how the manifestos could benefit them during their property buying journey – particularly first-time buyers.”

House prices stagnate, while property market shrugs off election uncertainty

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