Average asking prices surge to all-time record high

by Lee Bradbury

The average asking price of homes across the UK has hit a new record high, new Rightmove data has revealed.

This month’s 1% monthly rise has pushed the average up to £312,625, an increase of 3.5% compared to a year ago, beating the previous record set in June 2018 by some £3,186.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: Many more properties are being bought, and bought more quickly than at this time last year. This is further fuelling the existing shortage of property available for sale, driving up prices to a new record high.

“New supply to the market has failed to keep anything close to the pace of demand. Purchasers in a position to buy have been snapping up what’s currently on the market, rather than waiting for the usual post-Easter flurry of fresh supply.

“There are marginally more owners putting their properties on the market compared to this time last year, but it is usual for sellers to want to wait for another month or two until there are more leaves on the trees to soften the starkness of their photographs and harden up their pricing prospects.”

Properties are selling an average of 6% faster nationally compared to this time last year, with the average time to sell now 67.0 days, down from 71.4 days a year ago.

It is hard to predict how this post-election boost in market activity will be affected by the unknown impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Last week’s Budget mainly focused on this issue rather than on housing and major stamp duty reforms. Whilst any savings in stamp duty would have been welcomed by purchasers, Rightmove’s latest statistics indicate that the market fundamentals remain broadly sound.

Miles Shipside added: “The market has been waiting for several years for a window of certainty, and 2020 seemed set to be the year when many would look to make a move and satisfy their pent-up housing needs. However, the current fast pace of the housing market could now be temporarily affected by the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

“We expect that housing market statistics, like other economic indicators, could be prone to volatility over the spring and summer.

“However the market fundamentals are still very sound, hence the current surge in activity, which has included Rightmove’s five busiest days ever. There have been no signs so far of a drop in buyer activity or interest in the housing market.”

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