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House-sellers’ asking prices will rise by 2% in 2020, website predicts

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

The average price tag on a home will increase by 2% over the next year, with northern regions performing more strongly than those further south, a property website predicts.

Rightmove said it expects to see asking prices rise by 2% across 2020 – and the clear Conservative majority in the General Election could pave the way for increased housing market activity this coming spring.

Sellers’ pricing power will be enhanced by a lack of choice for potential buyers, the company believes.

It said the number of sales agreed so far in 2019 is down by just 3% on 2018, while the number of properties coming to market has fallen by 8%.

Rightmove’s index shows average asking prices across Britain (Rightmove/PA)

Rightmove director Miles Shipside 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.”

He added: “Rightmove measures the prices of 95% of property coming to market, and we predict that buyers and sellers will on average see a 2% rise in those prices by the end of 2020.

“While this is over twice the current annual rate of 0.8%, it’s still a relatively marginal increase as it’s a price-sensitive market.

“There will be regional variations. London is finally showing tentative signs of bottoming out, and we expect a more modest price rise of 1% in all of the southern regions where buyer affordability remains most stretched.

“In contrast, the largest increases will be in the more northerly regions, repeating the pattern of 2019 with increases in the range of 2% to 4%.”

Across Britain, the average asking price in December stood at £300,025 – 0.9% lower than the previous month.

Despite the fall in the average asking price, Rightmove said the monthly 0.9% decrease is the smallest seen at this time of year since December 2006.

Mr Shipside said: “First-time buyers are the drivers of the market.

“Too many are struggling to save the necessary deposits, and not all of them want to buy a new-build home through Help To Buy.

“More ways of getting more people on to the ladder would help to limit rising rents, increase liquidity and transaction numbers in the housing market, and make the dreams of their own roofs above their heads a reality for many more of the younger generation.”