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Average asking prices increased by 2.7 per cent to £321,064 in the year to March, according to Rightmove, which says it is the strongest sellers’ market for a decade.
Month on month, prices rose by 0.8 per cent or £2,484, while the number of potential buyers enquiring about each available property reached a record high.
The number of enquiries per property was 34 per cent above the figure for the same time last year, which was also a busy time in the market following clarity over Brexit, the general election and just before lockdown hit.
Now, demand is exceeding supply by the greatest margin for 10 years as sales have already been agreed on almost two out of three properties on agents’ books.
The first week in March saw agreed sales up by 12 per cent on the same week last year despite the shortage of available stock.
London was the only location across England, Wales and Scotland that house prices fell year on year, with a drop of 2.2 per cent.
Wales recorded the highest annual growth at 8 per cent, followed by the North West at 6.5 per cent and East Midlands at 5.2 per cent.
Rightmove director of property data Tim Bannister says: “Concerns of a cliff edge for the housing market at the end of March have dissipated, partly due to the tax deadline extensions in all of the UK bar Scotland, but also because the already high level of buyer demand caused by the lockdowns has continued to surge since the start of the year.
“This demand will be further boosted from April by the new government guarantees enabling lenders to bring back 5 per cent deposit mortgages.”
Bannister says that while some have been adversely affected by the pandemic, plenty of others are in a good position to buy, creating a strong sellers’ market.
Bannister adds: “So many sales have been agreed in recent months that we now face a serious shortage of homes available for sale.
“There are lots of reasons why many home-owners have hesitated to come to market during the first two months of the year, but these do now seem to be dissipating.
“A recovery in fresh supply gives more choice to prospective buyers, many of whom are also potential sellers, which in turn encourages more of them to come to market.”
However, Bannister sees early signs that the supply shortage may now be easing, with more owners deciding to market their properties, spurred by the extension of government incentives and a more tangible roadmap to normality.
* Content Source – Mortgage Strategy.
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