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Asking Price Records Tumble: National Nears £250k, London Passes £500k

LONDON, May 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

This month's 2.1% (+£5,135) rise has left the national average just shy of a quarter of a million pounds at £249,841, surpassing the previous record by £3,606, according to Rightmove's House Price Index. London, the South East and East Anglia have also hit all-time highs, with buyers in the capital facing average asking prices in excess of £500,000 for the first time.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, comments: "Despite a new national record, it's not 'green-shoots of recovery' across the board, especially for the deposit-strapped mass-market. They must wait patiently until January when the Help to Buy scheme extends to the resale market."

This is the fifth consecutive monthly rise, with all regions in positive territory this month. However, Yorkshire & Humberside and the East Midlands are still in negative territory year-on-year. With London sprinting past the £500,000 milestone for the first time, a typical home in the capital is more than twice as expensive as the national average.

Shipside cautions: "The recession has left buyers more choosy and less willing to settle for second-best. Not only are they looking for value and wary of paying over the odds, prospective buyers are also giving thought to ease of resale, a sign that the pain of this financial crisis has left them more mindful of the liquidity of their assets."

Pent-up demand is still being frustrated by the restricted supply of fresh property. Rightmove recorded 3% fewer properties coming to market when comparing the first five months of 2013 to those of 2012. This helped exert the upwards price pressure.

Taking the pulse of different players in the industry allows us to offer the following insights:

  • Record Rightmove search activity in April: Those searching and researching the market got through a record 1.25 billion pages last month - up more than 20% on last year. Nearly 400 million of those pages were viewed on smartphones or tablets, a clear sign that home-movers are fully embracing the benefits of being able to search anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
  • Busy surveyors mean more mortgage approvals on the way: Surveyors report that are 'flat out' carrying out mortgage valuations, indicating an 'off-radar pipeline' building up.
  • London   upwards price pressure continues: Feedback from London agents suggests that the market is 'brisk' and that 'multiple offers and sealed bids' are commonplace. A shortage of new supply coupled with more first-time buyers is keeping agents even busier than the hectic activity of last year.

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