UK homes sell at fastest rate ever as asking prices hit record high

Suban Abdulla
·3 min read
Old Georgian Style Homes For Sale In England
The number of sales agreed were up by 55% on the same period two years ago, meaning the proportion of available property is at its lowest ever recorded. Photo: Getty

Average asking prices for homes in the UK have soared to a new all-time high of £327,797 ($453,000), according to property website Rightmove (RMV.L).

Rightmove said on Monday that the average asking price had risen by 2.1%, or +£6,733 in cash terms, over the last month. The rise has put the average selling price more than £4,000 above the previous all-time high reached in October 2020.

"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," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data.

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There were 145,000 properties on the market last month but this was "not enough to meet buyer demand," Rightmove said.

The number of sales agreed was up by 55% on the same period two years ago and the proportion of available property is at its lowest level ever. 

Rightmove reported the "fastest-selling market" the company had ever measured. Properties were sold on average 45 days after first being marketed by the agent. Almost one in four (23%) properties that had a sale agreed in March had been on the market for less than a week, which was the highest rate Righmove has ever recorded.

Graph: Rightmove
Graph: Rightmove

Two and three-bedroom semi-detached homes are being snapped up quickest, with 30% selling in under a week.

"Momentum is being partly driven by the lack of property coming to market over the last few months, which has reduced available stock levels as we move into the spring home-moving season," Rightmove said.

The number of houses coming to market in the last month was up by 3% on the same period in 2019 but Rightmove said demand was still outpacing supply. (The property website said it can't compare data with the same period a year ago as the housing market was effectively suspended.)

READ MORE: UK house prices hit record high one year from the start of pandemic

Rightmove expects some of the froth to come off the market later in 2021 when government support measures unwind and the stamp duty holiday comes to an end in England and Wales. Despite this, Rightmove expects activity to remain robust for the rest of the year. 

Bannister said: "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."

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