House price bounce welcomes in 2006

House prices in the UK have started the new year with a bounce, with an average increase of £2,048 in the first week in 2006 says property website Rightmove.

The rise is the largest in a single week since May 2004 and reverses a decline over December, with prices increasing 0.1 per cent in the last four weeks.

Average UK asking prices now stand at £196,319, 3.6 per cent more than in the same period of 2005.

The price bounce has occurred alongside an increase in mortgage market activity, as homeowners compare mortgage rate offers to find the best products.

“Whilst it’s still a buyers’ market, prospective purchasers now need to think about how long it will remain in their favour if these increases continue,” said Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove.

The bottom end of the market has registered the greatest gains with first time buyers entering the market, boosting flats and terraced housing.

People looking to trade up have also seen a boom as the differences between the lowest rungs of the ladder have narrowed.

The map is far from even, however, with properties in the south east and London gaining while areas of east Anglia, the midlands and further north all lost out.

“The geographic split is quite marked this month, as sellers in many parts of the country continue to readjust,” said Mr Shipside.

“London and the south-east have had a couple of tough years of acclimatising themselves already and are now coming out the other side.

“Without their strong performance, the national figures would have been in negative territory, as you would expect at this time of year,” he added.

© Adfero Ltd

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