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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Supply and sales fall as London and the south drag down market

The latest asking prices data from Rightmove suggests that the national housing market is being dragged down by poor performance in London and the south.

The price of newly-marketed property across Britain as a whole rose an average 0.3 per cent or some £1,058 in the past month. 

Four northern regions saw their highest ever prices, pushing the national average price of property coming to market to within £91 of a new record despite the backdrop of political uncertainty.

The regions setting new all-time price highs are the East Midlands, the North West, Wales and Yorkshire & the Humber. 

These are also outperforming the national average in the key metrics of number of properties coming to market and the levels of sales agreed so far in 2019. 

At the mid-point of 2019 new seller supply remains constrained nationally, down by an average of 5.0 per cent versus the same period in 2018.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, says: “[There’s] some hesitancy on the part of would-be sellers, especially notable in parts of the south. However, these better-performing northerly regions are all beating that national average. In the East Midlands, new seller supply is up by 0.3 per cent.”

This regional pattern is also evident in the number of sales being agreed, though again the more difficult national market backdrop has an effect. 

The more marked reluctance of would-be sellers in the south to come to market means less property choice for buyers and fewer sales agreed in those regions. 

Despite this, the national average for the number of sales agreed in the first half of the year is down by only 4.3 per cent on the same period last year. 

The regions which have set new price records are again all selling better than the national average, with Wales 0.2 per cent ahead of last year, Yorkshire & the Humber down by 1.9 per cent, the North West dropping off by 3.3 per cent, and the East Midlands down by 3.7 per cent.

Shipside adds: “The national market faces a range of challenges, with overall average asking prices barely changed from last year, and activity levels slightly lower. Some buyers are hesitant due to the long-drawn-out uncertainty of Brexit, and there is also a slight tightening of mortgage availability and stretched buyer affordability, especially when it comes to raising a deposit.

“There is however a marked north/south divide as all northern regions are selling better than those in the southern part of the UK. On average the number of sales agreed for the year to date in the northern regions is down by 1.7 per cent compared to the same period  last year, while success at selling is more elusive in the southern regions which are down by an average of 7.1 per cent. To sell in these more difficult locations you have to undercut the asking prices of similar properties, and preferably have a well-finished and expertly marketed home that will all combine to stir hesitant buyer interest.”

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