The spring market has got off to a subdued start according to Rightmove - and the portal says more buyers are hesitating as they see Brexit decisions go down to the wire.
“Brexit uncertainty has at best delayed the usual spring bounce” warns the portal in a statement released this morning.
The portal says the average price of property coming to market showed just a 0.4 per cent rise over the past four weeks - that’s the equivalent of £1,287.
This is the lowest average monthly rise at this time of year since 2011, says the portal, although there are significant regional variations.
London is the main drag on prices although outside of the capital prices appear more buoyant in nine out of 11 regions.
Rightmove says prices in London are down by 1.1 per cent on the previous month, and the other region to record a monthly fall is the North East, down by 1.3 per cent. However, London prices are still 68 per cent higher than 10 years ago; in contrast, the North East has seen new seller asking prices up by just eight per cent in the same time-span.
The number of sales agreed by estate agents in February was seven per cent below the volume seen in the same period in 2018, compared with the four per cent annual fall recorded in January.
Meanwhile, search activity on Rightmove remains steady: the portal insists this indicates that home movers are keeping a watching brief which could lead to an eventual bounce if and when uncertainty abates.
“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” insists Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.
On Brexit, he concludes: “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.”