Demand remains robust in the UK housing market according to the latest indicators published on Monday by Rightmove.
The UK's largest website saw a 9% jump in the number of daily visitors to its website compared to the same period last year with around 4 million visits.
The rate of increase in the price of homes coming to market also remained consistent with last year, up by 0.7% (+£2,067) this month versus +0.6% in the same period 12 months ago.
Temper price optimism
Even with a buoyant start to 2018, the number of sales agreed in the last quarter of 2017 dipped across all regions compared to a year ago illustrating that prie optimism shoudl be tempered. Figures show the total number of sales agreed dropped 5.5% in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove's director and housing market analyst said in a statement: “Considering some of the gales that buffeted the market in the latter part of 2017, these early readings for 2018 show that there is currently a good following wind of search activity.”
However, Shipside adds: “Setting tempting asking prices and then quickly reducing them if there is little initial interest will be key to turning this promising level of buyer activity into actual sales, especially in the less active sectors and locations of the UK.”
New homes outside London see increase
The annual rate of price increase in newly-marketed property is 1.1%. However, at local level prices climbed between 4 and 6% in some regions, while London recorded a year-on-year fall of -3.5%.
Driving local price rises is the lack of choice for buyers. The property portal says the number of new-to-the market properties is holding steady at around 63,000 same as the previous year and there is “no sign so far of any rush to come to market and try to sell.”
Although asking prices have seen a slight increase of 0.7% this month similar to the same period a year ago of 0.6% it is still well below the average monthly rise of 1.9% seen at this time of year from 2013 to 2016 when the markets were rising faster.
Ray of light
However, there is a shaft of light for sellers in that tighter supply of suitable properties for sale along with the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers acts as a counter to the less-than-conducive environment of political uncertainty and stretched affordability for buyers.
Average overall stock per estate agency branch remains unchanged from a year ago at around 42 properties.
Rightmove warns that the return of optimistic price may be some years away and dependent upon increasing earnings and interest rates remaining low.