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House asking prices hit record high for the third month in a row

House sellers’ asking prices have hit a record high for the third month in a row, according to a website.

The price of property coming to the market increased by 0.8%, or £2,509, on average in June, pushing the typical price tag across Britain to a new record high of £336,073, according to Rightmove.

It said asking prices across all regions and nations of Britain have hit new records.

This is despite Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures last week showing the average UK house price fell by £5,000 in April after reaching a record high in March – the month when a stamp duty holiday was originally due to end.

The ONS house price index is less timely than Rightmove’s data as it is based on completed sales at the end of the conveyancing process, rather than the prices that sellers are looking to achieve.

Rightmove said the 0.8% increase in asking prices recorded in June is smaller than rises of 1.8% in May or 2.1% in April – indicating an early sign of a slowing in the pace of the current hectic market.

But the latest increase is still the largest rise for this time of year since 2015, buoyed by the strength of the top end of the housing market and 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.

“However, higher prices combined with a lack of fresh choice coming to market are reducing some buyers’ ability or desire to move, and while we expect the market to remain robust, there are early signs of a slackening in the incredible pace of activity that we’ve seen over the last year.

“This super-charged activity cannot go on forever, but we expect the market to remain vigorous for at least the remainder of the year.”

In signs that some steam may be coming out of the market, the number of sales agreed by estate agents in May was 17% ahead of the comparable period of 2019, a slackening of the pace recorded in April when sales agreed were 45% higher than in 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.

Demand is particularly high for “top of the ladder” detached homes with four bedrooms or more.

The number of sales agreed for properties priced over £500,000 was up by 49% in May compared with May 2019.

The housing market as a whole has seen an average price rise of 7.5% since March 2020, or £23,448.

But average prices for top of the ladder homes have increased by £67,394, or 12.3%, during this period.

Prices of newly marketed properties in Wales are up by 14.6% 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%.

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Mr Bannister continued: “Average prices in Wales are well below the national average, offering good value as well as beautiful rural and coastal surroundings.

“Buyer demand is up by 44% compared to a year ago, the highest increase of any part of Britain. The South West has been long-established as a second home hotspot, but has seen renewed impetus from main residence relocators being unshackled from the traditional locations for their daily commute.

“This unprecedented demand has resulted in the lowest ever number of available properties per estate agency branch for any region in the country, down to just 10 compared to the national average of 17.

“Some agents say that they’re pretty much sold out. It also has the fastest rate of sale in England for the first time ever, as demand from outsiders and local movers combine to make it the hottest selling region, with 28% of properties selling within a week of marketing on Rightmove.”

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Matt Barry, director at Astleys estate agents in Swansea, said: “We’re now regularly receiving offers from multiple buyers per property. This often results in us requesting best and final offers and homes selling for far in excess of the original asking price.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “There were 18 buyers chasing every listing across our branches in the South West last month as towns and villages which were once out of reach to five-day-a-week commuters now present realistic options for hybrid or remote workers.

“Additionally, London’s prime commuter belt towns continue to perform extremely well price wise, including Sevenoaks, Reigate, Dorking and Cranbrook, as many buyers continue to seek opportunities for more spacious accommodation and a larger slice of outdoor space.”

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