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Housing market sees 'new year bounce' as average asking price soars to £273k

The average asking price for a property in England and Wales is now £273,275 Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The housing market is showing signs of a "new year bounce" in activity, with new sellers hiking their asking prices by nearly £4,000 in January, property search website Rightmove has reported.

Across England and Wales, the average asking price for a property this month is £273,275 - 1.4% higher than in December and 8.2% above this time last year.

January typically sees a slight dip in asking prices, but this month has bucked the trend.

Rightmove said that while it is still early days, "there are signs of a new year bounce-back", with visits to the website this year so far running at 10% higher than a year ago.

Tax changes could be causing a rush in first-time buyers Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Archive

Meanwhile, people looking to take their first step on the property ladder have the opportunity to grab a cheaper deal this month, the website's findings suggest.

Sellers of typical first-time buyer homes are asking for around £1,132 less than they were in December.

The average asking price on a first-time buyer property is now £163,251, although this is still a significant 10.5% increase on a year ago.

Rightmove also said that the recent reforms to stamp duty, which have made the tax less expensive for the vast majority of home buyers, could mean potential savings of as much as £1,250 for a first-time buyer.

London has seen the steepest rise in asking prices Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Rightmove's figures show that asking prices in London have seen the highest year-on-year increase, at 12.8%, pushing the average price to £566,404.

The South West of England has recorded the biggest month-on-month jump in asking prices, with a 3% increase taking the typical price to £267,623.

The North East of England recorded both the lowest year-on-year increase in sellers' asking prices and the biggest month-on-month dip. Prices in the North East stand at £135,055, on average, marking a 0.8% increase on a year ago and a 1.7% month-on-month decrease.

In Wales, asking prices have typically increased by 6% annually and by 2.7% month-on-month to reach £166,833.