Sellers brush off pre-election fears

SELLERS have shaken off pre-election jitters to increase their average asking prices by 2.6 per cent in April, the monthly Rightmove property index will show today.

This marks a sharp jump on the meagre 0.1 per cent increase seen in March and takes the average price of a UK home to £235,512. Property prices are now up six per cent on this time last year.

Although the stock shortages that have underpinned the steep rise in prices are easing slightly, new sellers are choosing to price aggressively.

Rightmove said that greater choice for potential buyers, combined with the impact of the inevitable post-election austerity measures on personal finances, could lead to some of the price gains seen so far being whittled away by price falls later in the year in all but the most popular areas.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s commercial director, said: “With weather disruptions out of the way, more sellers are coming to market and they appear to be ignoring the uncertainties facing potential buyers. He added: “Prices are up, but so is choice, and the two are not happy bedfellows in the longer term.”

Rightmove found that the run-up to the election appeared to be having little effect on the housing market. However, the result of the election will have an impact on price movements post-May.

Shipside said: “As far as the housing market is concerned, any election result is better than no result. In the event of a hung Parliament, the market is likely to go into suspended animation until greater certainty emerges.”