United Kingdom house price growth flat in March amid Brexit uncertainties, Rightmove reveals

Andrew Cummings
March 20, 2017

Rightmove said the latest price increase reflects a lack of suitable homes for sale and is an indication of the "continuing resilience of the market" with strong demand from purchasers, but only for properties that have been priced accurately.

In regional terms, asking price rises in the East and West Midlands are outstripping all other areas.

The fastest pace of price growth is in the East Midlands, up by 5.7% over the year and 2.1% for the month.

Although Rightmove traffic is high, investor sectors were understandably quieter than this time previous year, as buy-to-let landlords rushed to beat the Stamp Duty deadline in 2016.

The 1.3% monthly rise takes the average asking price for a home to £310,108 but annual growth has slowed, down to 2.3% compared to 7.6% in March 2016. While the impact is yet to feed through to housebuilders, many economists have said they expect to see a slowdown in the market this year due to the uncertainties.

He believes that many buyers are being forced to be price sensitive, so sellers have to be wary of over pricing if they want to sell, especially in the South where the pace is no longer being set by the more affluent commuter belt, including London with its worldwide appeal.

Meanwhile, in Greater London, the report showed prices had grown 1.4% on-month and 0.9% on an annual basis. Neither is it set by the cheaper north driven by a mass of investors swooping on high buy-to-let yields.

In London, property prices grew 1.4% on the month and 0.9% on the year to an average of £649,772, driven by growth in outer London.

Three-quarters of agents surveyed by Rightmove report that the market is now price-sensitive, with buyers reluctant to enquire if properties are priced just a few per cent too high.

The Director and Housing Market Analyst at Rightmove, Miles Shipside, comments on the new findings: "While the prices of goods in shops are rising at a faster rate, the pace of price rises in property coming to the market is slowing". "Given encouraging activity levels last month, this isn't a huge surprise and is in line with normal seasonal trends".

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, house prices in England and Wales have gone up by 259% since 1997, while annual earnings increased by 68% over the same time period. "This is because we need to be mindful of affordability and any ongoing, significant increases in house prices could create a turbulent market that many would seek to avoid, as it would price many purchasers out of the market".

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