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February 18, 2008    

House sellers up asking prices

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by Gill Montia

Latest figures from Rightmove, the property website, show a 3.2% rise in asking prices for homes in England and Wales, to £237,856.

The February increase is the first since October of last year and brings the annual increase in asking prices to 5.8%, compared with 3.4% in January.

The news is surprising because house prices are expected to stagnate this year, with some analysts forecasting a downturn of around 5%.

However, the recent requirement for every vendor to have a Home Information Pack has distorted prices upwards, because fewer one and two-bedroom properties are entering the market.

Rightmove has also pointed out that the figures are not seasonally adjusted and that historically, prices increase in the early months of the year.

Between mid-January and mid-February the average time a house remained on the market was 93 days, compared to 78 days in the same period of 2007.

Miles Shipside of Rightmove comments: “The interest rate cuts have no doubt given some sellers headier hopes. These are likely to prove unwarranted, given the higher level of existing property that is already on the market and the length of time that it has been there.”

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