December house price drop smallest since 2006…

Property asking prices fell by the smallest amount for a December month since 2006, showing confidence among sellers and estate agents that home buyer demand is strong.

The latest survey from Rightmove revealed a 0.9 per cent decrease in the average asking price for homes for sale.

The average asking price in the UK is now £300,025, down from £302,808 in November. A lack of supply continues to hold up house prices, it said.

The number of sales agreed in 2019 is down by three per cent on last year while the number of homes coming on to the market fell by eight per cent.

Rightmove forecasts that asking prices will increase by an average two per cent by the end of 2020, a more optimistic prediction than the one it gave leading into this year of 0 per cent.

The actual rise in 2019 reached 0.8 per cent as the housing market performed better than expected at the end of the year.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “The greater certainty afforded by a majority government gives an opportunity for a more active spring moving season, with some release of several years of pent-up demand.

“Given the Brexit track record to date, further political twists and turns should not be ruled out, though with a large majority there is a higher possibility of an end to the series of Brexit deadlines, and the prospect of an orderly resolution.”

London on the upturn

Shipside said London was showing signs that house prices may have dropped to their lowest point. Rightmove forecasts a one per cent price rise in all of the southern regions, where buyers’ budgets are most under pressure from expensive housing in relation to what they earn.

The largest price increases are forecast to be in northerly regions, as they were this year, rising by between two and four per cent.

New sellers are expected to come to market next year, but with estate agents reporting the lowest proportion of properties available for sale in two years – supply remains limited fuelling the small rises in asking prices.

Shipside added: “The statistics for 2019 encouragingly show that the ‘have-to’ and ‘life-stage’ markets have been carrying on, and we hope that the more certain outlook would encourage many would-be discretionary movers to finally get off the fence.”