Home sales this month remained robust as buyers shrugged off pre-election jitters, signalling growing confidence in the UK economy and bolstering expectations that property prices will increase in the coming months, new figures show.
Asking prices for homes in England and Wales increased by an average of 1.2% in May compared with the previous month, which is the equivalent to £3,626, to reach a national average of £317,281, according to the latest property price index published by Rightmove.
The survey from the property website shows that asking prices of properties coming onto the market have now been increasing for five months in a row, with typical family homes proving to be the strongest sector for price growth, recording a 5.4% year-on-year rise.
“Whilst all-time high asking prices or economic and political uncertainty could be deterrents to would-be home-buyers, this month shows another strong set of figures,” said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.
Pre-election periods often cause a pause in housing activity, but the number of sales agreed by estate agents was 2% higher in the year to date than the same period in the previous election year of 2015, Rightmove said.
But sales are down 2% on the same period last year, although it is worth noting that the volume of sales agreed in the first quarter of last year benefitted markedly from the buy-to-let rush as investors sought to beat the April 1 deadline of additional stamp duty.
Shipside observed: “Those with the greatest motivation to move are often those with growing families, with their need for space or access to schools outweighing uncertainties that might cause others to delay their future housing plans.”
Rightmove research shows that homeowners with children under eleven years old are twice as likely as the average person to be moving home.
Shipside added: “As well as that shrinking house feeling, parents with young children also have the pressures of travelling times to amenities as well as the weekday school commute. These have to be balanced against under-pressure finances, even more so when the sector with the property type that suits them best is seeing the biggest price jump.
“What seems to be happening is that moving pressures are understandably taking priority over electioneering and Brexit worries. For many in this group, it seems that moving is definitely on their manifesto.”