Country houses for sale

Shortage of housing stock driving prices up

The average property asking price has gone up 2.8% in October to £230,184 from £223,996 in September says the latest report from Rightmove. Fresh stock is 36% down on 2007, which includes 22,000 stamp duty exempt sellers looking to cash in before buyer incentive ends in January 2010.

Prices are now higher than they were a year ago, says the report, with London at a record high – and a majority of buyers expecting more rises and only one in ten expecting falls. A rise of this nature is more commonly seen in springtime, but a combination of suppressed demand, stamp duty rules and consumer confidence has extended the autumn demand.

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Miles Shipside from Rightmove said: ‘It’s a little bit crazy to have a sellers’ market given the time of year and the warnings of imminent fiscal austerity by all the main political parties. Agents, however, are reporting properties selling within the week at the moment.

‘Buyers are ready to pounce on new instructions and are willing to proceed as they believe prices have bottomed, and more are finding the ability to put down the larger deposits required to access the best mortgage deals.’

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However, the property website is also keen to point out that this seemingly good news is hiding some fundamental weaknesses in the market including a pre-election freeze next spring. Now could well be a good time to sell, the report postulates, as post election the market could also be dampened by the next Government implementing its austerity package.