Asking prices rise in March as market looks set for busy spring
The average asking price for a property coming to market rose 0.8 per cent to £321,064 in March amid a surge in buyer demand, the Rightmove house price index showed.
Compared to the same month last year, this was a price increase of 2.4 per cent.
Rightmove expects spring to be a busy period for the property market. The number of buyers enquiring about each available property on its website is up 34 per cent annually.
It said it was the highest level of demand outstripping supply it had recorded in a decade.
This was also evident in the number of sales agreed, as two thirds of properties on agents’ books in March had been sold. Annually, the number of sales agreed in the first week of the month was up by 12 per cent.
Although Rightmove noted there was a stock shortage, it said a slow rise in the number of new homes listed suggested this might be easing.
The number of newly-listed homes was down only five per cent year-on-year in the first week of March, compared to the 20 per cent annual drop recorded in February. The company said this was likely influenced by the extension of government incentives as well as the roadmap out of lockdown.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “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, and because the already high level of buyer demand, caused by the lockdowns, has continued to surge since the start of the year.
“Whilst it is unfortunately not the perfect time to buy for some people who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, the record buyer demand measured by Rightmove indicates that now is the right time for many.”
Sellers’ market and supply shortage
Bannister added: “This strong sellers’ market is good news for those who are looking to put their home on the market as the traditional Easter selling season approaches.”
Bannister said the sales agreed in recent months could result in a “serious shortage of homes available for sale”.
He added: “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.
“Greater supply to match the high demand would ease upwards price pressure.”