Property asking prices hit new high

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The average asking price for a property coming on to the market hit an all-time high this month, a survey said, beating the record set nearly four years ago.

Average asking prices are up 0.5% at £243,737 compared with the last peak in May 2008, at the start of the recession, according to the Rightmove House Price Index.

The number of properties for sale increased by 8.1% outside of London but overall supply is still down 30% compared with April 2007. This, and the more active spring market, are buoying up seller confidence, Rightmove said.

The South West, where supply is down 5.5% on last year, is seeing a record-breaking average asking price of £270,735, while the South East and East Anglia are just £810 and £2,489 off their previous peaks.

In London the average asking price, at nearly half a million pounds, is at a historical high, as sellers in the capital drag their heels in bringing fresh property to the market.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “Asking price records are being set in the fresh-stock-starved London and South West regions, and agents report this is also the case in markets in other regions.

“Doing research in your area is essential to gauge what type of property is in demand, how quickly it is selling and how close to the asking price is being achieved.”

These promising results conceal the drop in asking prices in the ailing regions of Wales, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humberside over the last year, with falls of 1.5%, 1.2% and 0.2% respectively.

Mr Shipside said: “If only taken at face value, national averages can mask varying degrees of volatility at a regional level.

“The richest seams of housing market activity are concentrated around those with access to cash and finance, with a strong bias to the South and London in particular.”

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