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Asking Prices Hit a New High


House sellers asking prices have hit a new high, indicating a new-found confidence in the property market.  So says the property website Rightmove, which has cited a 2.1% month-on-month rise & pushing up the average asking price to £249,841 in May. This indicates a £20,000 rise for the year so far, the strongest start to a year for the property market since 2004.

The biggest month-on-month rise took place in the north, increasing by 4.2% to £152,689, with East Anglia close behind, rising 4% to £233,447.  In London the half million pound barrier was broken for the first time, standing at £509,870; this represents more than double the national average and an 8.6% rise over the last 12 months.

Rightmove acknowledged that average asking prices were being driven by a southern bias, as the south east has seen the second highest annual rise with asking prices standing at £325,489.  The only regions that have seen annual falls are Yorkshire & Humberside and the east midlands which have fallen by 1.1% and 0.6% respectively.

Research from another website, Zoopla, suggests that the number of sellers dropping their asking prices has fallen to its lowest number in three years. Easier access to loans coupled with a shortage of homes in many areas of England & Wales makes for a much rosier picture for the market.  The Governments Funding for Lending Scheme has given buyers access to cheaper loans, as mortgage lenders slash their rates and another scheme, Help to Buy is expected to launch more buyers onto the property ladder.

It might be good news for most sellers but there is still little encouragement for first-time buyers with small deposits.  Despite being offered billions of pounds in taxpayers cash, the banks are not keen to get them on the books. According to the comparison website Moneysupermarket, the number of home loans for those with a 5% deposit has barely risen at all since last year;  31 products has now become 33.

Sources: thisismoney.co.uk, rightmove.co.uk (image courtesy of uk.finance.yahoo.com)