House prices up 2.6% in April, says Rightmove

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The Independent Online

House prices continue to rise, with sellers ignoring pre-election uncertainties and putting up asking prices in April by 2.6 per cent – or £5898 – compared with March, according to property website Rightmove. Prices are running 6 per cent higher than in the same month of 2009.

But there are two warning signs, says Rightmove. First, the shortage of properties widely credited as a key factor in recent price rises is starting to ease. More than 25,000 properties have been going on the market each week for the last two months, the longest sustained period at such levels since August 2008. Estate agencies’ unsold stock levels are also increasing, rising from 65 to 68 between March and April.

Second, is the looming General Election. So far the housing market has seen little effect. But if the result is a hung parliament, the resulting uncertainty could undermine the boost in activity which normally follows an election.

“As far as the housing market is concerned, any election result is better than no result,” Miles Shipside, the commercial director at Rightmove, said. “In the even of a hung parliament, the market is likely to go into suspended animation until greater certainty emerges.”

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