UK house prices jump in October amid interest rate rise speculation

·3 min read
UK housing market charges higher amid speculation on interest rate rise
The UK housing market charges higher despite end of stamp duty holiday and supply crunch. Photo: Matt Crossick/PA/EMPICS Entertainment.

The average UK house rose in price by £5,983 ($8,027) in October, jumping by 1.8% as the property market frenzy continued.

According to Rightmove's monthly House Price Index, this was the highest percentage monthly rise at this time of year since October 2015.

In addition, this is the first time since March 2007 that Rightmove has recorded a "full house", with all market sectors and all regions of Britain having hit new record price highs in the same month.

The continued fast turnover of property for sale and a window of opportunity to buy before a potential interest rate rise seem to have overcome the final expiry of all stamp duty incentives.

"Although more properties are coming to market, the level is still not enough to replenish the stock that’s being snapped up," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data.

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"The stock shortages started after the first lockdown, and they look set to continue with the underlying housing market fundamentals remaining strong, and an additional incentive to buy and fix your mortgage interest rate before a widely expected rate rise."

The number of sales being agreed was up by 15.2% in September compared to the same period in 2019, which is the best "normal market" comparison.

This high level of demand is stalling a recovery in the depleted available stock for sale despite a continuing upward trend in properties coming to market, said Rightmove.

The latest weekly snapshot shows that the number of new sellers coming to market is still marginally down on the same period in 2019, but only by 3.2% as opposed to 9.3% for the period as a whole.

This continuing imbalance, with demand outstripping supply and leading to record prices, presents an opportunity for owners looking to sell and cash out if they are downsizing or not needing to buy another property.

The window is also open for movers who wish to sell and buy again before a likely interest rate rise, which is widely expected as the Bank of England seeks to control resurgent inflation.

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In these "full house" market conditions, with many homes being snapped up quickly and sellers having a choice of competing buyers, those buyers who have already sold their own property subject to contract or have nothing to sell will have the most powerful negotiating hand to secure their ideal home.

“We’re advising sellers to start planning their moves for 2022 now by taking advantage of the blue skies and getting their marketing organised, so they’re ready to go," said Mark Ross, managing director of Redbrik.

"With buyers prepared to wait to allow chains to be built, sellers can be confident in coming to market and get a jump start on their competition."

Estate agents report that owners who are motivated to move are putting their property on the market before they have set their heart on an onward purchase, and once they have sold their own subject to contract their new status as a "power buyer" helps them to secure a suitable property when it comes on the market.

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