March 21, 2011 / 12:10 AM / 9 years ago

Property asking prices rise in March

A man passes an estate agent's window in London in this Septermber 27, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Asking prices for houses in England and Wales are 0.9 percent higher than a year earlier, a monthly survey by property website Rightmove showed on Monday.

March’s annual rate of growth in asking prices picked up from a reading of 0.3 percent in February. The month-on-month rate of growth, which is subject to seasonal volatility, slowed to 0.8 percent from February’s four-month high of 3.1 percent.

Overall the figures do little to shift the picture of stagnant house prices shown in other industry surveys, as limited mortgage availability, slow wage growth and job worries deter many house-buyers.

Rightmove saw some grounds for optimism for estate agents, as higher levels of enquiries and viewings in January and February appeared to be converting into sales.

“The falling time on the market and stable spring stock levels would normally point to a healthy housing market. However, this year’s celebrations will be severely muted by the knots the market has found itself tied up in,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.

Activity was stronger for more expensive housing, as the wealthy buyers for these properties generally did not need a mortgage that covered as large a share of the property’s cost as those for cheaper houses, Rightmove added.

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Patrick Graham

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