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Rightmove reports 57% fall in new listings

There were just 78,901 new property listings on Rightmove in March, compared to 181,840 last year, the portal reveals.

This is the lowest number of new sellers Rightmove has measured in the month of March since 2003.

Rightmove's House Price Index, which measured prices of properties listed from Feb 8 to March 7, also shows that the average asking price in March has increased by 0.9% (£1,918) since February to £218,081. Last month also saw an increase, of 1.2%, but current prices are still 9% lower compared with last year.

The Index also reveals that enquiries are 120% up on last year, and the average time for a property to be on the market is down from 91 to 82 days. Average unsold stock per agency branch has also fallen slightly, from 72 to 71.

On a regional basis, only the East Midlands, West Midlands and the South East reported a monthly price decline, of 0.3% in the Midlands and 1.2% in the South East. This takes the average price to £156,536 in the East Midlands, £176,833 in the West Midlands and to £269,512 in the South East.

The rest of England and Wales reported price increases since February, with the greatest increase experienced in Greater London, of 3.1% to an average £399,867. The North West followed closely with a 2.6% increase to £156, 584 and Wales with a 2% increase to £154,484. However, prices in Wales were still 15.2% less than last year - the sharpest annual decrease of all the regions.

Miles Shipside (pictured), commercial director at Rightmove, says; "Some sellers are still pricing wishfully high, though it is encouraging that elements of the market have adapted relatively quickly to find a new price floor at a discount of around 25% from peak.

But he adds: "Odds of selling would be much further improved however, if current mortgage approval volumes were allowed to rise above 40,000 a month, around one third of traditional levels."

Statistics from the Council of Mortgage Lenders last week revealed there were just 23,400 loans in January.

Meanwhile, Anthony Bell, sales manager at London-based Kinleigh Folkhard & Hayward's Fulham branch, says: "We are advising vendors to be as realistic about prices as possible.

"Buyers need to be prepared to compromise on their buying criteria and also to act quickly on realistically priced stock in their preferred area, as they risk competing with other buyers."

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