The Monthly UK house price statistics for March are in – Here are our main takeaways…
The figures for March tell a different story depending on where you are in the country. The average increase in asking prices across the country is just 0.4% in March, bringing the average national asking price to 0.8% lower than this time last year. Here in the South West however, prices have held up well, despite Brexit uncertainty with a rise in March of 1.6%, bringing the regions average asking price to 0.1% above this time last year. The average house price in the region is now £302,419, against a nationwide figure of £302,002. London is the main drag on the national figures with a fall of 1.1% in the month, whereas 9 of the 11 regions have seen a monthly increase in the price of new property to the market.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “While March marks the start of spring, temperatures have yet to rise in the housing market. Buying activity remains cooler than usual, with hesitation as some buyers await a more settled political climate. There’s greater resilience the further away you get from the London market, and there’s a sound bedrock of demand for the right property at the right price, reinforced by ongoing housing needs combined with cheap mortgage borrowing.”
As we get closer to the Brexit deadline, it seems inevitable that this may cause a short stutter in the market as buyers hesitate to see the outcome. However, we are confident that any reduction in market activity will be short lived as buyers continue to take advantage of affordable borrowing and a flatter market. Rightmove continue to report steady activity on the website with user number and searches maintaining previous levels. This would indicate that, even though buyers may want to wait and see what happens with Brexit before making a commitment to a purchase, they are keeping a close eye on the market all the same.
Miles Shipside adds: “The closer you get to the wire without the clarity of an agreed way forward, the greater the propensity for buyers to wait and see rather than acting now. This could be a temporary pause, and indeed market slowdowns at election time and around the original referendum result bounced back pretty quickly. Markets and people do not like uncertainty, though while sales agreed numbers are down by 7%, that means they are still running at 93% of last year’s levels. Most potential buyers are getting on with their lives or seeing a price lull as an opportunity to get onto the housing ladder or move to the next rung, with average national asking prices being 0.8% cheaper than a year ago.”
If you are considering testing the market, our advice would be to make a start now to be ready for the post Brexit bounce. Once the uncertainty of the current period is out of the way and we start to understand the way forward, buyers will regain any slight loss of confidence once more. Get in touch with us for a free property consultation.