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Housing market springs into life over Easter

The housing market sprang into action over the Easter period, with more homes put up for sale on Thursday last week than on any other day this year, according to Rightmove, the property search website.

March 28 marked the third-busiest day for new listings since the summer of 2020, surpassed only by Boxing Day in 2022 and 2023.

Easter typically signals a busy time in the housing market, falling within the spring selling season. This period is popular for buying or selling homes due to the better weather and the opportunity for deals agreed now to allow movers to settle into their new homes before the end of the school summer holidays.

With mortgage rates having eased from their highs in the summer of 2023, agents and developers are optimistic about seeing the usual seasonal pick-up this year, which was missed out on 12 months ago.

Most major housebuilders have reported an increase in sales heading into this spring selling season, their busiest time of year traditionally.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s head of property data, noted the surge in new sellers ahead of the Easter break, attributing it to the desire to attract buyers using the long weekend for home hunting alongside their Easter egg hunts. Bannister also emphasized the importance of pricing competitively to secure successful sales in the current price-sensitive market.

After a sluggish 2023 due to rising mortgage rates, cost of living pressures, and concerns about a housing market downturn, signs of recovery have emerged recently. Developers’ sales have risen, agents are reporting increased interest in listings, and prices are beginning to climb again. Rightmove data shows that average asking prices on its site are 0.8 per cent higher than a year ago, reaching £368,118 on average.

However, despite relatively stable prices compared to a year ago, homes in Britain remain significantly more expensive than pre-pandemic levels. The average asking price of a new listing has risen by £55,500 or 18 per cent since March 2020, with regions outside London and the southeast experiencing the most significant growth.

While house prices in London have seen an 8 per cent increase over the past four years, regions like Wales, the northwest of England, and Yorkshire and the Humber have recorded more explosive growth, with increases ranging from 26 to 29 per cent since before the pandemic.

Nationwide’s data this week further indicated that only in the north of the country were prices still on the rise.

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