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House prices on the wrong move

publication date: Dec 31, 2009
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The Rightmove House Price Index for December is released today, featuring the property market performance over the past month and Rightmove's forecasts for 2010.

In spite of the lowest average stock for sale for 21 months, new sellers have dropped their asking prices by 2.2 per cent this month (-£4,977). This follows November's fall of 1.6 per cent. We expect a further drop next month, meaning the final quarter of 2009 will see three consecutive monthly price falls as the motivation of winter sellers outweighs the growing lack of choice for potential buyers.

Rightmove predicts a burst of activity and asking price gains again in early spring, continuing the heightened level of activity seen during 2009. We forecast that post-election the housing market will enter a more challenging period.

Miles Shipside (pictured), Commercial Director of Rightmove comments, "Those contemplating selling should spend some of the festive break researching their local market before seeking professional opinion very soon after the New Year. Time may well be of the essence as the election is likely to be a party pooper. 2009 turned out to be a good time to trade up, and we forecast the positive mood will continue into 2010 until the post-election hang-over kicks in."

Location will be all important in how well insulated an area is from the negative impacts of structural changes to the housing market. More desirable areas continue to see low levels of property on the market, driving house prices higher. Even in these sought-after locations, there are pockets of potential buyers frozen out of the market. This month sees average stock levels per estate agency branch fall from 69 to 67 properties, the lowest Rightmove has recorded since February 2008. This will give additional impetus to the traditional fresh crop of new year buyers, assisting a buoyant start to 2010 wherever estate agents are stock-starved.

Shipside adds: “Those who are moving now tend to have a jolly good reason, rather than a whim. Sellers motivated by death, divorce and debt are now being supplemented by some discretionary movers as the market improves, but it's hard to see how lenders and regulators will have the appetite for the increased lending required to satisfy the levels of home moving that had become the norm.”

For further statistics and to download the Rightmove December 2009 House Price Index please visit -

or search for local house prices at