Asking prices for homes have hit a record high for the third month in a row, according to the leading property website Rightmove. The Guardian reports that the property portal states that the price of houses coming onto the market have increased by 0.8 per cent, or £2,509 on average, in June, pushing the average price of a home in the UK to £336,073. This is despite figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from the week ending 20 June showing that the average house price fell by £5,000 in April after reaching a record high in March – the month when the stamp duty holiday was originally due to end. However, the ONS house price index is not as timely as Rightmove’s data, as it is based on completed sales at the end of the conveyancing process, rather than prices that property sellers are hoping to achieve.
Rightmove said that the 0.8 per cent increase in asking prices recorded in June is smaller than rises of 1.8 per cent in May, or 2.1 per cent in April, suggesting early signs of a slowing of the pace of the current market. However the latest increase is still the largest rise for this time of year since 2015, supported by home movers looking to change their lifestyles, the report added. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “Record low-interest rates and stamp duty tax reliefs have helped many to afford higher prices, satisfying their pent-up desires for a new home fit for a new era. “Some of that demand has now been met, and the phasing out of stamp duty reliefs has also taken away some of the urgency to move, though our high traffic and search data indicate that there is still strong buyer demand.”
He explained that higher prices combined with a lack of new properties coming to the market have reduced some house hunters desire to move, and while the market is expected to remain robust, there are early signs that the incredible pace of activity seen over the last year is slowing down. “This super-charged activity cannot go on forever, but we expect the market to remain vigorous for at least the remainder of the year,” he added.
One sign of the market slightly slowing down is the number of sales agreed by estate agents in May was 17 per cent higher than the same period in 2019, while in April, agreed sales were 45 per cent higher than April 2019. The average number of properties available for sale per estate agency branch stands at just 17, falling even further from the record low of 19 in the previous month, Rightmove added. The report also says that demand is still high for ‘top of the ladder’ detached homes with four or more bedrooms.
The number of sales agreed for properties priced over £500,000 was up by 49 per cent in May compared with May 2019. The housing market as a whole has seen an average price rise of 7.5 per cent since March 2020, or £23,448. But average prices for top of the ladder homes have increased by £67,394, or 12.3 per cent, during this period. Prices of newly marketed properties in Wales are up by 14.6 per cent since March 2020 – the biggest rise in Britain, Rightmove said. The second-largest price rise is in the South West, where price tags are up by 11.4 per cent.
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