Monday, March 15 2004

House prices surged by 2.9%, an increase on January’s 2.1% rise, according to property website Rightmove.co.uk. The figures bring the total increase since the beginning of the year to 5%, a dramatic increase.

This brings annual house price inflation to 11.9%, from 10% last month, the highest level of inflation since August last year according to the website.

It says: ‘The market continues to get busier, with activity levels in February standing at approximately twice the level in December, and significantly higher than in January.’

Sheffield was the city showing the most growth over the month, with an 8% rise, and putting it at the top of the website’s ‘ones to watch’ list.

Rightmove.co.uk attributes the continued growth to increased confidence in the market, saying: ‘These rises are occurring on the back of steadily growing levels of activity, as buyers return to the market encouraged by improving consumer confidence, sustained low interest rates and the approach of spring.’

Average asking prices nationally are almost touching £180,000 while in the capital prices have broken the £275,000 barrier, to reach £275, 459. Even the ‘average’ property in Greater London is now well into the 3% stamp duty band, the website says.

Although the 11.9% figure for increases year on year is below the statistics quoted by Halifax and Nationwide (who put growth closer to 17%), this is because Rightmove.co.uk includes cash only sales and therefore a larger number of higher-end properties, where the market is also healthy but growing at a slower rate.

Rightmove