House prices spark in busiest start to the year
UK house prices continued to rise in January, marking the busiest start to the year on record, an industry survey showed on Monday.
According to the latest Rightmove House Price Index, the average price of property coming to market rose by 0.3% in January from December, to £341,019. That is 7.6% higher than January 2021, and the highest annual rate of price growth recorded by Rightmove since May 2016.
Rightmove said it was the busiest ever start to a new year, driven by ongoing strong demand and weak supply. Buyer enquiries surged by 15% year-on-year, while the number of available homes for sale per estate agency branch dropped to just 12.
First-time buyer asking prices hit £214,174, a month-on-month jump of 1.4% and a fresh record. Prices are now 6.8% up on January 2021.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: "New Year sellers and buyers have been quick off the mark this year, with Rightmove recording the highest ever number of Boxing Day sellers coming to market.
"These early-bird sellers who got themselves ready to come to market are now benefiting from the busiest start to the year that we’ve recorded.
"All the signs suggest that prices are likely to continue to rise until more choice is available.
"It is clear that the trends which defined the market in 2021 have carried over into this year."
However, looking ahead, Bannister said there were "early signs" of a better balanced market in 2022. The number of requests from would-be sellers to agents increased in January, and was at one of the highest points ever on the first working day of the year.
"While this potential new supply will take a little while to appear on the market, it’s an encouraging sign of more choice for buyers in the coming months," he noted.
The index is compiled from asking prices of properties coming to market via more than 13,000 estate agency branches that list on Rightmove.