Signs Of New North-South Divide Emerging In UK Housing Market

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Rightmove say a new north-south property divide is emerging in the UK ahead of the Christmas period, with people selling second-stepper homes in the north of England standing the best chance of finding a buyer by Christmas.

The property website said in its latest house price report that those selling more expensive “top of the ladder” properties in London and the south of England have the least chance.

In the four weeks to 7th October, asking prices for homes coming to the market in England and Wales rose 1.1% to £313,435, following a 1.2% drop the previous month.

Prices rose in eight out of 10 regions, the exceptions being Yorkshire and Humber and east Midlands.

However, cash-strapped consumers become more cautious about major spending commitments in recent times leading to more sellers chasing fewer buyers, according to Rightmove.

The number of properties arriving on to the market in England and Wales was up 3.1% last month compared with the same period in 2016, but the number of sales agreed was down 5.9%.

Properties in the south of the country proved more difficult to sell, with sales agreed down 7.9% compared with 3% in the north.

“It will be harder for this autumn’s sellers to secure a sale because buyers have more choice. New sellers’ pricing optimism may therefore be unfounded in some parts of the country,” said Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s director and housing market analyst.

“With buyers becoming more Scrooge-like with their cash, sellers who have undercut the average 1.1% rise in asking prices may stand a better chance of finding a buyer before Christmas, especially if they are in one of the more active parts of the market.”

“Whist affordability is stretched, it is still countered by the motivation to own a home rather than rent, or the need for extra space to house a growing family.

“However, with buyers’ average wage rises often falling behind retail price inflation, and with a rise in interest rates being more heavily trailed by the Bank of England, sellers in these most popular sectors should still be wary of over-pricing,” Shipside said.

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