February 21, 2011 / 6:51 AM / 9 years ago

Property prices perk up in February

A man walks past property for sale and rent in Timperley, northern England, November 1, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Asking prices for houses in England and Wales jumped 3.1 percent over the past month as sellers hoped for better demand in the traditional spring selling season, a survey showed on Monday.

Property website Rightmove, which says it advertises 90 percent of all homes for sale, said the average asking price nationwide was 230,030 pounds in February.

But year-on-year prices were virtually unchanged, up just 0.3 percent compared with a 0.4 percent annual rise in January. February’s month-on-month rise in prices only partly recouped a total fall of more than 6 percent in November and December, according to the non-seasonally adjusted figures.

Low transaction levels look set to remain entrenched throughout 2011 because mortgages remain hard to get, Rightmove said.

“Any hopes that transaction volumes may be on the springboard preparing to return to historic norms will have been dashed by lenders’ predictions that 2011 lending volumes will match 2010’s dire levels,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.

“The current subdued market volumes are set to be the new norm unless the seemingly never-ending discussions between government and mortgage lenders find some way of increasing ‘Mr Average’s’ access to lower-deposit mortgages without pricing them out of the market,” he added.

Due to limited mortgage lending, some homeowners who would traditionally have sold their properties are instead letting out their homes and renting a more expensive property, Rightmove said.

London bucked the trend with the number of new sellers up 21 percent year-on-year. Asking prices rose 4.2 percent over the past month, with the average property in the capital costing 430,680 pounds.

Rightmove’s survey was based on the asking prices of 121,635 properties which estate agents advertised on its site between January 9 and February 12.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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