NEW sellers increased their asking price for the third consecutive month during March as activity in the housing market showed signs of picking up, research indicates.
The average cost of a home put on the market in England and Wales during the four weeks to March 12 rose by 0.8 per cent to £231,790.
This follows a 3.1 per cent increase in February, according to property website Rightmove.
It said the rise reflected an increase in activity from potential buyers, as well as a shortage of properties coming on to the market, as many homeowners decided to sit tight.
Rob Lovell, manager of Southsea estate agents Jeffries, agreed with the findings, adding: ‘Houses are selling for a better price now, but it is not so much that the prices are going up, it’s that they are now going for nearer the asking price.
‘Last year offers for houses in Southsea would come in at £10,000 less than the asking price and we would settle about £5,000 under. Now they sell for about £3,000 less than the asking price.
‘Sellers are getting a fairer price, rather than the prices going up, but this is because there is such a lack of property on the market just now.
‘The danger is if people think things are getting better there could be a sudden increase in the number of properties on the market and prices could fall again.’
Search activity on Rightmove’s website hit record levels during three of the four weeks in February, and estate agents reported that the higher levels of enquiries and viewings seen in January and February were slowly converting into offers and sales. There was also a slight increase in the number of homes put up for sale during the month, with the amount of stock on estate agents’ books rising by five per cent year-on-year.