The average asking price of homes across the UK has hit a new record high, according to the latest Rightmove data.
This month’s 2.1% monthly rise has pushed the average up to £327,797, thanks in part to the widening supply-demand imbalance in the market.
Buyer demand has hit a record-high, while the proportion of property available to buy has dropped to a record-low. This is now the fastest-selling market that Rightmove has measured since its records began.
Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister said: “This is only the second time over the past five years that prices have increased by over 2% in a month, so it’s a big jump, especially bearing in mind that the lockdown restrictions are still limiting the population’s movements and activities. The property market has remained fully open, and is fully active to such an extent that frenzied buyer activity has helped to push the average price of property coming to market to an all-time high.
“The stars have aligned for this spring price surge, with buyers’ new space requirements being part of the constellation alongside cheap mortgages, stamp duty holiday extensions in England and Wales, government support for 95% mortgages and a shortage of suitable property to buy. There’s also growing optimism due to the vaccination roll-out, which is helping drive the momentum for a fresh start in fresh surroundings. It does mean that this spring’s buyers are facing the highest ever property prices, though with properties selling faster in the first two weeks of April than ever previously recorded by Rightmove at an average of just 45 days to be marked by the agent as sold, it seems that those buyers are not deterred.
“Almost one in four [23%] properties that had a sale agreed in March had been on the market for less than a week, which is also the highest rate that we’ve ever recorded. If you’re looking to buy in the current frenetic market then you need to be on your toes and ready to move more quickly than ever before.”
Two- and three-bedroom semi-detached houses are being snapped up quickest, with 30% of those that are being marked as sold by agents having been on the market for less than a week. This suggests that the surge in activity is now being driven by the mass market where few buyers will be achieving the maximum stamp duty savings.
Bannister added: “The fast pace of the current market means that each week another activity record on Rightmove tumbles.
“Wednesday 7th April set a record of over 9.3 million visits to Rightmove, and March saw time spent on the site surpass two billion minutes in a month for the first time. This spring surge means that it’s a good time to come to market and achieve a good price and a quick sale, especially if you don’t have an onward purchase.
“The search for more space and new surroundings is still driving the market, with prices rising for the right property in the right location. Housing market activity remains high in Scotland where there has been no extension to the land and buildings transaction tax holiday which has now come to an end, which suggests that the same could happen when the tax holidays start to come to an end in England and Wales from the end of June.
“These rising prices will cause some buyer affordability challenges, as mortgage lending criteria are still constrained, and the record low available stock proportion will make it difficult for buyers to find the right property.
“Being able to act quickly when the right one does come along is vital, so having both a mortgage agreed in principle and your own property already sold subject to contract will help to get you to the front of the queue if you’re looking to buy this spring.”
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