Rightmove upbeat on housing market in 2013

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LONDON (ShareCast) - New year sellers increased asking prices by just 0.2 per cent - around 440 pounds - in the first two weeks of January, according to property website Rightmove (LSE: RMV.L - news) .

The site said it had seen the number of properties coming to market up 22% year-on-year, while traffic was up by 27% over the first two weeks of January.

The weekly rate of new property listings was 11,153 but that was still down 37% on five years ago.

However, Rightmove said this was the highest level recorded at the beginning of a new year since 2008.

Its figures indicated there was increased confidence among sellers coming to market, with seven out of 10 sellers 'discretionary movers'.

This outnumbered forced sale drivers such as the 'three Ds' of death, debt and divorce.

There were also signs of growing confidence among property investors, with 74% of professional landlords expecting to add to their portfolios in the next 12 months.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, said sensible pricing would help buyer affordability.

"[This is] one of the factors needed to help warm up the market and encourage a recovery from the credit-crunch freeze in transaction volumes," he said.

"The thaw will also be helped by growing confidence that prices are more likely to go up than down.

"There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting genuine 'green shoots' of recovery after a prolonged period of the housing market bumping along the bottom."

MM