Springtime `Hots Up` In 2012

Date Published 23 March 2012

Early indicators suggest that property market activity in 2012 is on course to be more robust than in 2011.

New sellers' average asking prices are up by 1.6% this month and are seeing their strongest start to the year since 2004, fuelled by the continuing shortage of suitable stock and a jump of 16% in search activity on Rightmove during the first quarter. With estate agents both north and south reporting some encouraging seams of activity in select market sectors, average asking prices are now 2.2% higher nationally than a year ago.

Those property types favoured by first-time buyers have seen the largest price rises in the last 12 months. Terraces are up by 2.8% and flats have risen by 3.1%, out-performing semi-detached and detached property types. This suggests a pick-up in activity from first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors at the lower end of the market. However, sellers of properties between £125,000 and £250,000 will be concerned that the loss of the first-time buyer stamp duty incentive reducing their target audience of potential buyers. Around 40% of the properties currently on Rightmove are priced within in this bracket.

In stark contrast to the trials and tribulations of first-time buyers trying to save a thousand or two on stamp duty, new sellers' asking prices in London have reached a new peak of £455,159. The traditionally buoyant spring market has combined with a shortage of supply and brisk turnover of property. The result is another new record for average asking prices in the capital this month, representing an increase of nearly £600 a week over the last year, underlining London's continuing property market strength. The average asking price for a property in Kensington and Chelsea has also reached a new peak, breaking the £2 million barrier and now standing at £2,000,12