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Homes sell faster than ever as prices hit new high

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Eager buyers are snapping up properties twice as quickly compared to 2019, as asking prices reach pre-2008 records.

Homes are taking just 33 days on average to sell in April, the fastest ever recorded by Rightmove.

Prior to the pandemic, it typically took 67 days to secure a sale in 2019, according to the property listings site.

Fresh house price highs are a further sign of the feverish market, with homes listed at an average £360,101, up 1.6% month-on-month.

Records were reached across all regions and all market sectors, only the second time this feat has been achieved since 2007, Rightmove said.

Over the past three months, average asking values jumped by £19,000, the largest gain seen over a three-month period by property portal.

At the same time, more than half of properties are selling at or above the full asking price.

OnTheMarket revealed similar figures. It recorded national average house prices jumping around £20,000 nationally (excl Greater London), and approximately £70,000 in Greater London, year-on-year.

Its average March 2022 asking price for detached properties on its Greater London books now sits at more than £2m, up from £1.8m in March 2021.

The booming market is underpinned by a lack of stock, as buyers continue to outstrip available properties.

Affordability constraint

However, the pace of price rises this year is tailing off slightly as affordability provides some constraint on would-be buyers, according to Rightmove.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “The high demand from a large number of buyers chasing too few properties for sale has led to a spring price frenzy, a hat-trick of record price months, and the largest price increase for a three-month period Rightmove has ever recorded.

He added: “There are some early signs of an easing off from the frenetic pace of price rises, and buyer enquiries to agents are down by 16% on last year’s stamp-duty frenzy.

“However incredibly, buyer enquiries are still 65% above the more normal market of 2019 and the number of sales agreed is up 21%.

“While there is growing economic uncertainty, our current market statistics show there is greater certainty that your property will sell more quickly than ever before, and likely at a record price.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: ‘Three months of price growth in the midst of rising inflation and interest rates, as well as the ongoing economic uncertainty, further highlights the lack of properties coming onto the market. This is creating huge competition among buyers, which is driving prices ever higher.

“While the chance of further interest rate rises is extremely high, buyers are taking advantage of low rates and fixing for as long as possible in order to manage their mortgage payments over the next few years.”