Rightmove House Price Index, March 2019

Asking prices of property coming onto the market rose by just 0.4% this month and is the slowest monthly rise in March since 2011 according to the Rightmove House Price Index for March 2019.

Rightmove report today that this rather subtle start to the spring market figures is being dragged by London with prices more buoyant in other regions. Outside of London, prices were higher in nine out of eleven regions.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “While March marks the start of spring, temperatures have yet to rise in the housing market. Buying activity remains cooler than usual, with hesitation as some buyers await a more settled political climate. There’s greater resilience the further away you get from the London market, and there’s a sound bedrock of demand for the right property at the right price, reinforced by ongoing housing needs combined with cheap mortgage borrowing.”

There is little doubt that the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit is making many people hesitate as to whether to move or not. Rightmove go on to show that the number of sales agreed by estate agents in February was 7% below the same period in 2018, compared to a 4% annual fall in January. The Rightmove report does say that the activity on their website remains steady and so there is the potential of a bounce once the uncertainty abates.

Shipside adds: “The closer you get to the wire without the clarity of an agreed way forward, the greater the propensity for buyers to wait and see rather than acting now. This could be a temporary pause, and indeed market slowdowns at election time and around the original referendum result bounced back pretty quickly. Markets and people do not like uncertainty, though while sales agreed numbers are down by 7%, that means they are still running at 93% of last year’s levels. Most potential buyers are getting on with their lives or seeing a price lull as an opportunity to get onto the housing ladder or move to the next rung, with average national asking prices being 0.8% cheaper than a year ago.”

Rightmove House Price Index for March 2019 – Regional Changes

House prices in London are the main drag with prices down 1.1% on the previous month and the other region to register a monthly fall is the North East, down by 1.3%. However, their respective pricing histories are very different with London prices still 68% higher than ten years ago. In contrast, the North East has seen new seller asking prices up by just 8% in the same time-span.

There is some better news in other areas with house prices in Wales performing positively with a monthly change of 1.4% and an annual change of 2.8%. Yorkshire and Humber show a monthly change of 1.3% and an annual change of 3.4%. You can see the full Rightmove House report.

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