UK Property Sellers Lift Prices for First Time in Three Months – Yahoo Finance

(Bloomberg) — UK property sellers boosted asking prices for the first time in three months in January, easing concerns that the market has turned toward a protracted slump.

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The price sellers sought surged 0.9% in January after declines in the previous two months, the property portal Rightmove said Monday. It was the largest gain for this time of year since 2020 and boosted average prices by £3,301 ($4,022) to £362,438.

Rightmove said it recorded a 55% jump in potential buyer inquiries in the past two weeks, the biggest New Year bounce since 2016. Its figures contrast with data from mortgage lenders showing that the cost of property sold has dropped for four consecutive months, the longest slump since 2008.

The data “give reasons for some positivity at the beginning of 2023,” said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science. “The seasonal increase in new seller asking prices this January from December is particularly encouraging for movers who are looking for the reassurance of familiar trends and a calmer, more measured market.”

He warned that “over-valuing sellers may get caught out” as the inventory of properties for sale increases in the coming months. Asking prices remain £8,720 lower than the peak reached in October.

The number of prospective buyers contacting agents over the first few weeks of the New Year was up 4% compared with the same time in 2019, before the pandemic, and up by 55% compared with he two weeks before Christmas.

But the number of enquirers was down by 36% compared to the start of last year, when the market was still buoyant following Covid lockdowns.

Bannister said rising prices are a risk for the market. The “full effect of affordability constraints and last year’s mortgage rate rises will hold back some segments of the market in the first half of the

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