Shortage of 'suitable property for sale' drives up asking prices

East Midlands cities such as Lincoln have proved attractive for buyers with the region’s average house price passing £200,000Getty Images

The only two regions to see modest annual falls in house prices were Wales, where prices fell 0.6 per cent to £173,000 and the North-east, where the average asking price of £147,000 is 1.1 per cent lower than in March 2016.

The latest Market Monitor data was released by one of the UK's biggest estate agents as Theresa May announced next Wednesday March 29th as the date the United Kingdom will officially give notice of its intent to leave the EU.

Rightmove said the latest price increase reflects a lack of suitable homes for sale and is an indication of the "continuing resilience of the market" with strong demand from purchasers, but only for properties that have been priced accurately. The region recording the second highest annual rise was neighbouring West Midlands, which recorded a 4.2 per cent increase, bringing the average asking price to £212,798.

Across the country, the average growth was 1.3pc this month, but annually properties have only increased in value by an average of 2.3pc.

"The reality is that in areas like the Midlands where prices aren't as inflated, a more no nonense approach is benefitting homeowners as they proceed with their sale and see stronger, more natural price growth across the board as a result".

According to Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, there is a change in the market with the tradition of the market often being driven by southern half of the country.

Climbing property prices in March are in line with the increase seen this time previous year, although at that time demand was being boosted by buy-to-let investors rushing to beat a stamp duty hike that was coming into force in April.

The data, from Rightmove, says the price rise of the past month has only been exceeded once at this time of year since the heady market of 2007.

London's housing market underperformed the rest of the country during 2016 as stretched affordability, Britain's vote to leave the European Union and tax increases on investors weighed on demand.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "The pace is no longer being set by the more affluent commuter-belt South, including London with its global appeal".

2017 is expected to see increasing numbers of buyers, particularly investors, looking beyond the capital to the Midlands and other areas of the United Kingdom, such as the north west of England, which is now seeing the highest rental yield growth in the country.

According to Russell Quirk, chief executive of eMoov, the seasonal pick up ahead of what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the housing market along with an ongoing shortage of supply is keeping prices up.

He continues: "We've seen a lot of hesitation in the market of late, particularly amongst those in the likes of the South East, who are anxious about maximising their investment return".

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