Flats lose out to houses in the Covid-period price rise stakes

New data from Rightmove shows a rise of just £2,129 in the average asking price of a flat across Great Britain since February 2020 before the pandemic started.

The average asking price for a flat currently stands at £277,302 – an increase of just 1% since the start of the pandemic when prices were £275,173.

Meanwhile the ‘rush for room’ has seen the average asking price of a detached home jump by 10% over the same time period – now standing at £517,180 compared to £471,406 in February 2020.

There are however signs that flats are starting to make a comeback, with the number of sales agreed for flats up by 14% in June and July this year compared to June and July 2020, and up by 24% on June and July 2019. This is likely driven by lockdown restrictions easing, medium to long term working patterns becoming clearer and much better availability of low deposit mortgages.

The equivalent for the number of sales agreed for detached homes is down by 20% compared to June and July 2020, though still up by 7% on June and July 2019. The lack of available stock and ongoing high demand will continue to underpin prices in this bigger home sector.

The percentage of flats on Rightmove that are available for sale (i.e not marked as under offer or sold) has dropped from 77% back in June and July 2020 when the market had just started to get going again after its temporary closure, to 56% across June and July this year. The percentage of detached homes that are available for sale is down from 73% in June last year to 41% available in June and July 2021.

The cheapest area to get on the property ladder is the North East, with average asking prices for flats at £103,098, while the most expensive area outside London is the South East, where average asking prices for flats are £235,073.

The average asking price for a flat in London is £534,054 – a drop of 2% since before the pandemic in February 2020.


Separately, analysis by Search Acumen, the property data insight and technology company, shows that for the first time on record more than half of homes bought for £1m+ are now located outside Greater London.

With sales boosted to record levels and UK house prices rising at a rate of 10% annually, Search Acumen’s analysis of data from HM Land Registry shows nearly one in five home purchases (19%) across England and Wales are now valued at £500,000 or more. This compares with just 11% in 2018.

The market for properties priced at £1m+ has also boomed with 3% of sales now landing above this price point, up from 2% in 2018. In total, 15,560 house sales were agreed for £1m+ across England and Wales last year, equivalent to 43 per day and exceeding the totals for 2018 and 2019 despite the spring shutdown.

The North West (15.2%), Wales (13.3%) and North East (11.8%) have set the pace for regional house price growth across England and Wales over the last year. Over the same period, London house prices have grown by 5.2%, the lowest measure of any region.

As a result, Search Acumen has found that more than half of houses purchased for £1m+ are now located outside Greater London, for the first time on record. The capital’s share of this market has shrunk from 58% in 2018 to 48% so far this year.

Similarly, more than two thirds (68%) of house purchases above £500,000 are now taking place outside the capital, compared with 61% in 2018.


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