The asking price for homes coming on to the market in February leapt by 4.1%, according to the property website Rightmove.
That’s the highest monthly increase since April 2002.
It’s quite usual for asking prices to rise at this time of year. It’s often referred to as the “spring bounce”. However, a rise of 4.1% is highly unusual.
Rightmove says the rise is partly fuelled by cash-rich sectors of the market where buyer demand is exceeding the supply of suitable property.
There are also more mortgages available. Compared to a year ago, there is more competition from lenders to attract quality business. This is shown by the fact that the number of mortgage products for borrowers with a 10% deposit has risen by 35% over the last 12 months.
Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove, says confidence in the housing market appears to be growing. “There are also indications that those who are able to buy but had previously lacked the confidence
to take the plunge are of a more positive mindset this year. Perhaps some people are adjusting to the realities, opportunities and strange normality of a low volume but apparently stable property market.”
“Since the credit crunch you’ve had to be squeaky clean to pass a credit score, but lenders have more product offerings and are advertising their availability far more strongly in the media. Some agents report that this recent higher product profile from lenders has given some previously disenfranchised buyers new hope.”
It is too early, of course, to suggest that the housing market is about to take off after so long in the doldrums, although the Rightmove figures are encouraging.