House prices rebound slightly

House prices rebound slightly

House prices rebounded slightly this month in what was the lowest monthly rise since January 2012, Rightmove’s House Price Index has shown. 

The data for January 2019 revealed a rise of 0.4 per cent in the price tag for houses being put on the market. 

The increase came after prices fell for two consecutive months in November and December 2018, the biggest fall since 2012. 

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: "As we move from the old year into the new, the headline summary is that the Christmas slowdown came early and the hangover lasted a few days longer into the New Year than usual.

"Agents report that activity is now picking up, though when you dig underneath the national averages, the first snapshot of 2019 shows a somewhat patchy and variable picture depending on where you are in the country. 

"Given the current market backdrop and ongoing political turmoil, it’s not surprising that the more challenging conditions in London and its nearby regions mean that they appear to have had a slower start to the year."

Three out of 11 regions saw actual price falls this month.

London saw an average fall of 1.5 per cent in new seller asking prices this month, while the adjacent south east region remained muted at +0.2 per cent. 

Steve Seal, director of sales and marketing at Bluestone Mortgages, said: "Extending last year’s pre-Christmas dip, there’s no denying it’s a buyers’ market.

"Even with this though, many still struggle to find their way onto the housing ladder. A lack of affordable housing plays a contributing factor, but it’s also up to lenders to maximise opportunities for those who are struggling.

"As technology, work and financial habits evolve, individual financial backgrounds are becoming more complex. The industry needs to reassure customers that neither credit blips nor being self-employed should stop you from getting a mortgage, and that there are lenders out there to help."

Both London and the south east have a strong influence on national average prices since together they constitute 30 per cent of all new-to-the-market listings, despite their homeowners currently being among the most reluctant to come to market. 

Will Watson, director of Watsons Residential in Nottinghamshire, said: "It’s been quite an interesting start to the year.

"The first week of January was really slow. We had half the amount of viewings booked in that we were expecting, but during week two we’ve seen things gradually start to pick up.

"We had nine or ten sales last week and about the same in new listings."

He added: "The market seems to be relatively healthy for first time buyers, at least up to the £200,000 mark. Anywhere past £250,000 and it’s getting more challenging, with lower activity.

"I think with Brexit, there will continue to be caution and uncertainty in the market until we get an outcome either way. Once we know where we stand it should start to alleviate that caution and stimulate growth in the upper end of the market."