Record jump in level of unsold properties

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The housing market remains lodged in the doldrums, with the mismatch between property supply and demand leading to the biggest rise in unsold stock since May 2007, according to an analysis of estate agents' listings.

The latest April Rightmove House Price Index shows that the asking price of an average home climbed £134 a day in the last month, a jump of 1.7 per cent to £235,822. But increased seller numbers have not been matched by an increase in purchasers' ability to buy, the property website warned in the report published today.

It says new sellers are being "over-optimistic" in a month which saw the average unsold stock per estate agency branch climb from 70 to 74 properties. "With buyers still struggling to raise the necessary finance, the net result has been the biggest jump in unsold stock on agents' books that we have recorded in nearly four years," Miles Shipside, the director of Rightmove, said.

While stock levels usually increase during the first half of the year, the current increase is larger than normal. During April, a weekly average of 28,390 properties came on the market, up 9 per cent on last year, and up 28 per cent on April 2009.

Mr Shipside warned that sellers will have to be more realistic if they hope to shift their homes, adding: "Those who are serious about selling should look to price more keenly in the spring selling season."