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House asking prices reach record high despite EU uncertainty

Published 20/06/2016

The EU referendum has not dampened house sellers' asking prices, a survey has found
The EU referendum has not dampened house sellers' asking prices, a survey has found

House sellers' asking prices reached a record high of £310,471 on average in June, despite uncertainty over the EU referendum, a property website has reported.

Homes across England and Wales are now taking just 57 days typically to sell - the fastest length of time recorded since Rightmove started monitoring selling times in 2010.

In May, the average length of time between a home being marketed on Rightmove and being marked as sold subject to contract was 60 days.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said: "In many parts of the country, the over-riding factor of supply outstripping demand has so far overcome buyers' usual reluctance to make major financial decisions at times of political uncertainty.

"Most seem to be getting on with the certainties they can control, namely if you find a suitable property snap it up."

But there is evidence that the referendum on June 23 is causing some uncertainty among home owners considering putting their properties up for sale, Rightmove said.

Fewer new sellers are coming to market, with the newly-marketed property numbers down by 5.3% compared with the average at this time of year.

Home owners with larger properties appear particularly reluctant, with 6.6% fewer sellers of homes with four bedrooms or more than can usually be expected.

Mr Shipside continued: "If you're debating whether to trade up and make a big financial commitment you naturally might hesitate before putting your property on the market just a few weeks before you know the vote outcome.

"With mere days to go the number of new listings is still about 95% of the norm for this time of year, so the drop-off is relatively small in spite of what many are calling the biggest vote of our generation.

"This could mean that people are struggling to assess what the impacts might be, or are choosing to ignore them until they become more apparent."

Mr Shipside said the lack of properties on the market should not encourage sellers to become over-ambitious with their asking prices.

He said: "B uyers' affordability is increasingly stretched and they're shopping around so their budgets go further. If you set too high a price your property can become stale and be ignored."

"Given that housing markets dislike uncertainty, which could become a reality in the event of a Brexit vote, any dampening of buyer activity might mean that more realistic pricing would be an even more critical factor to achieve a sale."

Across England and Wales, asking prices increased by 0.8% or £2,320 month-on-month. Rightmove has seen price rises every month this year so far.

London was the only area to see asking prices fall back in June, with a small 0.2% month-on-month decrease. But the average price tag on a home in London is still much higher than other regions, at £643,117.

The North West of England saw the biggest month-on-month increase in asking prices, with a 2.2% increase taking the average asking price to £183,482.

Wales saw the second highest month-on-month increase in asking prices, with a 2% increase pushing the average asking price to £185,145.

Rightmove's report also quoted the views of estate agents.

Rupert Briggs of The Personal Agent in Surrey said: "The market is still very strong in our areas and we have more buyers than sellers.

"The market is definitely a lot more price sensitive, and properties need to be marketed at the correct price to achieve a good level of interest."

Kai Logan of Bradleys Estate Agents in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall said: "Activity in the market place remains strong with figures on instructions, viewing and offers all very positive.

"There appears to be a slight hesitancy with buyers committing to a purchase, particularly on higher priced properties.

"We expect to see heightened sales activity following the EU referendum when people know the outcome, regardless of the result."

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