Housing Market Remains Price Sensitive but Average House Prices Increase

The UK housing market continues to show resilience despite the price sensitivity among buyers. Recent data from Dataloft indicates that the average asking price for homes listed on Rightmove has seen a notable increase. This article explores the factors contributing to this rise and examines the dynamics at play in the current housing market.

Rising Asking Prices

According to the latest figures, the average asking price of homes listed on Rightmove has climbed by 0.8% in the last month, reaching a new high of £375,131. This increase, while modest, marks a significant milestone for the housing market, reflecting an ongoing trend of gradual price appreciation.

Top-of-the-Ladder Properties Leading Growth

The primary driver behind this price growth is the top-of-the-ladder sector. Properties in this segment, particularly 4-bed detached and 5+ bed homes, have experienced a substantial 1.6% price increase over the past month. This growth outpaces the increases seen in the first-time buyer and second-stepper segments, highlighting a strong demand for larger, more luxurious properties.

Seasonal Market Dynamics

Spring has traditionally been a buoyant period for the property market and this year is no exception. The combination of a seasonal uptick and pent-up demand has created upward pressure on prices. Historically, May has been a strong month for price growth, with new price records set in May in 12 of the past 22 years. This trend appears to be continuing, further bolstered by an influx of motivated buyers eager to secure homes.

Market Sensitivity and Buyer Behaviour

Despite the rise in asking prices, the market remains price sensitive. A significant proportion of offers are being accepted below the asking price, indicating a degree of caution among buyers. Currently, 62% of offers are accepted at up to 5% below the asking price, while an additional 20% of offers are accepted at more than 5% below. This suggests that while sellers are optimistic, buyers are negotiating assertively, reflecting broader economic uncertainties and affordability concerns.

Factors Influencing Buyer Caution

Several factors are contributing to the cautious approach among buyers. Economic uncertainties, including inflation and interest rate fluctuations, play a crucial role in shaping buyer behaviour. Additionally, the cost-of-living crisis and broader economic challenges have made buyers more vigilant about ensuring value for money.

Regional Variations in Price Sensitivity

Price sensitivity can vary significantly across different regions in the UK. In some areas, strong local economies and limited housing supply can sustain higher prices, while in others, economic challenges might necessitate greater price flexibility. Understanding these regional dynamics is crucial for both buyers and sellers navigating the current market.

The Role of Estate Agents

Estate agents play a pivotal role in this price-sensitive market. Their expertise in accurately pricing properties, understanding market trends and negotiating effectively is invaluable. For sellers, setting a realistic asking price that reflects current market conditions is crucial to attracting serious buyers. For buyers, having a knowledgeable agent can help secure the best possible deal.

Looking Ahead: Market Predictions

As we look to the future, it is likely that the housing market will continue to experience slight price fluctuations driven by a variety of factors. Monitoring economic indicators, government policies and market trends will be essential for all market participants. While the current trend shows rising asking prices, the underlying price sensitivity suggests that both buyers and sellers need to remain flexible and well-informed.

For those considering buying or selling a home, staying informed about the latest market trends is crucial. At Northwood, our team of experienced estate agents is dedicated to providing you with the insights and support you need to navigate this dynamic market. Whether you’re looking to list your property or find your dream home, contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your goals.