Signs point to recovery in property prices for next year

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The Independent Online

The property market is set to show a recovery in 2013 as a series of positive signals emerge from a national house price index published today.

The Rightmove Index measures trends in asking prices, search activity and inquiries, and all three are up on the same time last year. Asking prices have climbed 2 per cent – £4,617 – since November 2011, while search activity is up 20 per cent and inquiries up 11 per cent over the same time period.

The figures come days after the Bank of England's said mortgage approvals climbed 9.2 per cent in the past quarter. The Index also shows that while new sellers dropped their asking price by 2.6 per cent, that was the least severe November fall for three years.

Miles Shipside, housing market analyst at Rightmove, said: "There are a number of positive trends that justify cautious optimism as the market enters its winter recess."

Last week, the Markit House Price Sentiment Index indicated that households are more optimistic that the value of their home will rise over the next year than at any time since 2010. Meanwhile figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that UK house prices rose by 1.7 per cent in the 12 months to September.

However, the figures showed that London prices climbed by 5.2 per cent, confirming the continuing property value divide between the capital and the rest of the country.

"The market remains patchy, and national statistics are given a gloss by a buoyant London market," said Mr Shipside. "There's a two-speed market, with sellers in the capital seeing near double-digit price growth in a year while the average for everywhere else remains broadly flat.

"Property availability is tightening in lower price bands, according to the survey, with new stock coming to market in the typical first-time buyer brackets down 5 per cent on a year ago." Terraced properties and flats have seen the greatest annual increases, up 4.4 per cent and 4.3 per cent year-on-year respectively.

"In addition, our survey found that 78 per cent of 2013's intending first-time buyers stated that they have a 10 per cent or greater deposit lined up, suggesting they have adjusted to the new market norms of higher equity requirements," Mr Shipside said.

The annual change in London property prices recorded by Rightmove was 8.8 per cent, leaving the average property in the capital worth £483,709.