UK property prices creeping upwards again

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert September 20, 2011 16:05

Britons seeking to sell their house lifted the asking price slightly in September, in the hope that prospective buyers will be pressured to purchase a home in the run-up to Christmas, online estate agency Rightmove PLC (RMV.LN) said Monday.

Rightmove said the average asking price for a property in the U.K. rose 0.7% to GBP233,139 in September from GBP231,543 in August. But in an illustration of the market's underlying weakness, September's asking prices were down 3% from June.

Asking prices were 1.5% higher than in the corresponding month a year ago.

Many sellers are trying to zone in on "deadline-focused" prospective buyers who want to move in before the Christmas break "to enjoy their turkey in their new abode," said Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove.

"New sellers are asking GBP7,255 less than they were three months ago, trying to strike a balance between maximizing their returns and grabbing a buyer in the brief Autumn selling season," he said.

Another deadline coming up in March, that may persuade buyers to act sooner rather than later, is the end of the government's stamp-duty relief for first-time buyers. After that date, these buyers will have to pay a 1% tax on any property worth more than GBP125,000, instead of the more generous GBP250,000 currently allowed.

Activity in the U.K. housing market has barely recovered since the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Many buyers have been put off by tight lending conditions and high levels of inflation that have eroded their spending power, as well as concerns over the safety of their job and the economy in general.

Housing prices have only risen by 2.5% in the last three years, Rightmove said, compared with an increase of 16.4% in the three-year period between 2005 and 2008.

Rightmove said that while current government plans to promote housing activity will help in three or four years' time, there is nothing in the pipeline to boost market activity now.


Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert September 20, 2011 16:05

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