January asking prices rise in the traditional new-year bounce, but by far less than last year

The average asking price for a property in England and Wales rose by 1.2% in January as a result of “falsely optimistic new year sellers”, according to property site Rightmove.

The average asking price for a house at the beginning of February was £216,163, up 1.2% from £213,570 at the beginning of January.

However, the asking price rise at this point last year showed a higher bounce, with a 3.2% rise from the previous month. Rightmove said that the “customary spring optimism” shown by new year sellers had been considerably dampened this year by the credit crunch.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said: “While sellers have been more conservative in their new year bullishness than last year, they may regret not pricing more aggressively to capitalise on the spring surge in buyer interest.

“Sales are being achieved at around 25% below peak prices, yet new sellers coming to market are starting out asking an average of only 10% less.”