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Average asking prices increase 1.7% in April

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HPI UK

Average asking prices increased by 1.7% in April to £235,822 leaving prices up 1% higher than the same time last year. The increase was the fourth consecutive monthly increase in 2011 and came despite unsold stock levels seeing their biggest increase for four years, from 70 to 74 properties.

With stock levels increasing, Rightmove warns that those looking to move in the spring selling season may have to embrace ‘serious sales tactics’. Rightmove’s Miles Shipside suggests the following three elements may be the key to sales success…

-       Price low. “Undercutting similar properties for sale is a must. Agents report that in order to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace the asking price has to look like a real bargain rather than merely competitively priced. With the transparency of the internet, potential buyers can easily judge which properties are over-priced”, says Shipside.

-       Push the ‘added value’. “If your property has real ‘added value’ features that give it an edge over similar looking ones, then ensure your marketing really promotes the differences those extra benefits will make to a new occupier’s life. If your advert fails to stir the emotions, then don’t expect to shake local buyers into life”, adds Shipside.

-       Polish till it sparkles. “Remove your rose-tinted spectacles, and look at your property with a diamond dealer’s loupe, as that is the level of critique that many buyers now apply. Immaculately prepared and presented property gems not only stand out, but give less reason for buyers to squeeze you on price”, advises Shipside.

Rightmove’s analysis indicates there is a more sustainable equilibrium between supply and demand in the three southern regions. In the South West new sellers’ asking prices are 1.9% higher than a year ago, with Greater London and the South East both measuring 2.2% gains. London’s spring sellers have felt sufficiently confident to market their properties at a new asking price record this month of £431,013. In contrast, all other regions are in negative territory compared to this time last year apart from the North West recording a marginal gain of 0.3%.

Shipside comments: “While most of the country struggles to sell or raise deposits to buy, demand from cash-rich buyers in London has meant that sellers there can ask record prices. This is driven by London’s international status, its preponderance of wealthier buyers, and a shortage of available land and properties.”

The spring selling season also coincides with an unprecedented run of five bank holidays which may bring its own complications. Agents traditionally report slow activity during Easter and the spring bank holidays, and both May bank holiday Mondays last year were among the slowest Mondays in the first half of 2010 on the Rightmove website. This year the early Easter break and early May bank holiday come in quick succession, with the Royal Wedding in between, giving the potential for an eleven day holiday for many people which may play out as a mini-summer break in the property market similar to the traditional August slowdown.

Shipside adds: “Britain’s bank holiday bonanza could prove an unwelcome distraction for the spring housing market if potential buyers take short breaks and holidays rather than pursuing their next move. At a time when all eyes are on the House of Windsor, will enough eyes be on the houses of those looking to sell in Britain’s over-stocked housing market?”

10 Responses to “Average asking prices increase 1.7% in April”

  1. carl Says:

    it still appears that the housing market is still in dire straits on my survey of sellers and buyers,the housing market is averaged out by the overpriced housing stock in london.
    i really wish the truth could be printed and not manipulated by organisations whose interest is talking it up as we know the market is heading south too reality.

  2. Ivan Tincknell Says:

    After reading the above, it seems things get even more depressing for those trying to sell.
    We have been on the market trying to sell our Park Home in Weston super Mare for over 2 years, but in that time have had 2 let downs due to breaks in chains. Having recently changed our agent, who said that business seemed to picking up back in March, and our Mortgage Advisor who arranged the last property which we lost, said he has noticed the market is dead.

  3. Mrs.V. B.ennett Says:

    My house is on the market now and I amlooking for a bungalow in Truro.

  4. J.O'borne Says:

    I do agree with you, my home has been on the market for 3 years, on and off, I put it back on late Febuary within 2 weeks I had an offer the first a buyer from London, the following week another buyer from London again, gave me more than the asking price, she put the offer in without viewing it, so I do think things are on the move, a very satisfied vendor from the isle of wight.

  5. Malsta Says:

    Irrational sellers inflated egos and timid Estate Agents failure to challenge are unwittingly conspiring to re-inforce what is already a stagnant market caused by mean spirited lenders and economic mis-management that led to three unprecedented years of pay cuts and freezes. We are living in a state of denial. What’s clear is that only fools will pay up the rest of us won’t… say good-buy!

  6. Malcolm Says:

    I am buying in Maidenhead, and it doesn’t really seem as if prices of up-market detached properties have dropped here at all. Admittedly they certainly aren’t rising, but good houses in good roads are still selling pretty fast here.

  7. Jan Green Says:

    Having just spent 6 months from agreeing a price on a sale to completion date (property in Gosport in Hampshire) I thought that buying a house would be quicker because I am a cash buyer with another property which I am living in – so no chain my end BUT after 3 months of agreeing a price on a property I am no further forward in the purchase (in Staffordshire). Do people really want to buy and sell? I am beginning to wonder!

  8. Warren Mills Says:

    Articles such as these are very productive but it would be more beneficial for everyone to be able to relate to the actual state of the market by showing a comparison between the average asking price, the average offer price and the eventual sale price.

    Simply stating the average asking price has increased is not a suitable indicator as ultimately everyone desires as much a return for their property as possible and for some the asking price is reflected in the level of borrowing outstanding on the property and funds required for the following acquisition.

  9. Dave Anderson Says:

    We did look at moving from the Wirral over to Appleton, in Warrington (Cheshire) however the asking prices are stupidity high. Properties seem to have been on the market for months\ years and not shifting, which is not a good sign if you’re looking at moving into the area!

    After a couple of viewings, talking with the local agents and vendors etc, it seems to me that Appleton is a perfect example of a group of local estate agents overvaluing houses in an area thus sellers being totally unrealistic with asking prices vs. what buyers are prepared to pay.

    The thought of buying a house and having the feeling after that I’ve paid way over the odds (when looking at areas close by), plus then the added fear of getting stung badly if\when the prices in the area fall is why we’re looking elsewhere. Agents & vendors need to be far more realistic in asking prices especially in this economic climate!!!

  10. David Atherton Says:

    I assume people’s problem is that although prices are falling, vendors are holding out for unrealistic prices. The problem is their mortgage, a consequence of all this 95-100% lending in the years up to 2007. Typical is one I tried to buy recently where vendor said “I know it’s only worth £200k because two in the street have sold for that recently, but my mortgage is £240k so I have to stay put until the market moves back to that.”

    If I was buying now, first thing I would ask is “what’s your outstanding mortgage”.

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