- Average asking price in England and Wales reaches £290,963, report says
- Rightmove reports 6.6% year-on-year rise in first-time buyer homes for sale
- First-time buyer prices stall over past month but up 8.6% over past year
Home sellers hiked house prices by £1,500 over the past month, bringing the average asking price across England and Wales up to £290,963, new data revealed.
But a ray of light has emerged for squeezed first-time buyers, with a 6.6 per cent annual rise in the number of starter homes coming to the market helping prices for two or less bedroom properties to almost stall over the past month.
Rightmove said that the average asking price rose 0.5 per cent in the month to mid-January, while the average first-time buyer property rose by just 0.1 per cent – or £209.
First timers: There has also been a 6.6 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of new homes coming on to the market aimed at first-time buyers looking for two or less bedrooms, Rightmove said
Property asking prices are up substantially for all buyers over the past year, however, with first-time buyers seeing prices rise fastest. While the average asking price is up 6.5 per cent, first-time buyer asking prices are up 8.6 per cent to £177,261.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: ‘In this stock-starved era it will come as a relief to first-time buyers that their negotiating power may already be improving because of the forthcoming tax changes (for buy-to-let investors), and there is a window of greater choice as more owners of smaller properties try to sell.
‘Rather than waiting until later in the year, having a good look around now while choice is up and interest rates remain unchanged could get you on to the ladder sooner and at an acceptable price.’
The upturn in starter-homes coming up for sale also spells positive news for buy-to-let investors, who traditionally battle it out for properties in this part of the market with first-time buyers. Buy-to-let investors face an extra 3 per cent stamp duty charge from April and may be tempted to rush to buy now to beat the hike.
Asking prices rose fastest over the past year in the East of England, up by 9.8 per cent to an average of £312, 921.
On an annual basis, house prices in London saw the second biggest rise, with asking prices up 7.8 per cent on a year ago. The average price of a home in the capital stands at £610,741, Rightmove says.
With a 2.8 per cent rise, Yorkshire and the Humber saw the smallest annual increase in asking prices in regions across England. The average cost of a home across Yorkshire and the Humber is £165,722.
In the past year, house prices in Wales have fallen by 0.5 per cent to an average of £166,051, the research suggests.
Rightmove’s heatmap shows how asking prices have changed across England and Wales. The biggest rise was in the East of England over the past year, but prices in Wales fell.
Asking prices rose substantially last year and have now slipped. Buyers will now be watching to see if this is seasonal or a sign of a slowdown.
Last month, data from the Office for National Statistics suggested that UK house prices increased by 7 per cent in the year to October 2015.
Average mix-adjusted house prices in October 2015 reached £300,000 in England and stood at £174,000 in Wales, £196,000 in Scotland and £158,000 in Northern Ireland, the ONS said.
This year stands to be an important one for both would-be buyers and buy-to let landlords.
In his Autumn Statement and Spending Review last year, Chancellor George Osborne pledged to build 400,000 new affordable homes by the end of the decade.
From 1 April, people buying additional properties, such as buy-to-let properties and second homes, will pay an extra three per cent on current stamp duty rates.
The changes will affect anyone owning a second property that isn’t their main residence and buying another, or replacing the one they don’t live in.
A quick sale: Homes in England and Wales take on average 73 days to sell, Rightmove’s data shows
Rising tide: Most recent ONS figures suggested UK house prices increased by 7% in the year to October 2015
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