The property website Rightmove has published its House Price Index for March and it shows that the average asking price in England and Wales was £239,710 against the February figure of £235,741. In the last year asking prices have increased by an average of 1.2%. Rightmove say that 60% of home-movers believe that prices will be “more or less the same” in a year’s time while 23% expect prices to be higher. Only 11% expect prices to be lower.

Rightmove says its research shows that rents are now delivering average gross yields of 5.9%. Our Visitors looking for landlord insurance information will be interested to note the comment from Rightmove’s Miles Shipside who says that buy to let investors are “piling in to the rental market”.

Rightmove is reporting that properties are now selling more quickly with the average time on the market now 80 days compared to 90 days this time last year.

What impact will the Government’s new initiatives have? In the budget the Chancellor announced “Help to Buy”, which will mean that people with only a 5% deposit will be able to buy a home. There are two aspects to the scheme. Firstly, an equity loan by the government of up to 20% of the value of a new build property. This comes into effect from 1st April 2013. Secondly there is a mortgage guarantee scheme that covers existing and new build homes costing £600,000 or less. This does not start until January 2014.

There is no doubt that the difficulty of saving up a deposit has been a major factor in preventing people from buying their own home. Many commentators believe the new initiatives will help the property sale market to take off. If so, will landlords find it tough to attract good tenants? One London agent, Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward recently commented on the shift they have seen in the market between 2012 and 2013. Whereas last year it was very much a landlord’s market this year they have noted a balance between available properties and potential tenants.

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