Rightmove: Average asking price jumps by £6,000 as competition for houses remains ‘hot’

Martin Roberts discusses getting on the property ladder

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The property boom continues across the nation as the average asking price has hit a new high for the first time at this time of the year since October 2015. According to Rightmove, the number of sales agreed was up by 15.2 percent in September, versus 2019’s “normal market” comparison.

As well as the number of sales increasing, it is the first time since March 2007 that Rightmove has recorded a “full house”, with all market sectors and regions across the UK having hit new record price highs in the same month.

This includes first-time buyer, second stepper and top of the ladder buyers.

The continued fast turnover of property for sale and a window of opportunity to buy before a potential interest rate rise has overcome the final expiry of all stamp duty incentives.

However, the number of new properties coming to the market are still not strong enough to satisfy autumn demand from buyers.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data, said: “Competition for property for sale remains hot this autumn, with average prices jumping by almost £6,000 in the month.

“Although more properties are coming to market, the level is still not enough to replenish the stock that’s being snapped up.

“Consequently, new price records have been set across the board, with every region of Great Britain and all of the three market sectors of first-time buyer, second-stepper and top of the ladder hitting all-time highs.

“This ‘full house’ is an extremely rare event, happening for the first time since March 2007.

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“The stock shortages started after the first lockdown, and they look set to continue with the underlying housing market fundamentals remaining strong, and an additional incentive to buy and fix your mortgage interest rate before a widely expected rate rise.

“Mortgage interest rates are lower than they have ever been before and lenders are keen to lend in a competitive market, with employment and wage growth also robust. The number of sales agreed continue to be strong despite the end of the stamp duty incentives.”

According to Rightmove, the window is open for movers who wish to sell and buy again before a likely interest rate rise, which is widely expected as the Bank of England seeks to control resurgent inflation.

Mr Bannister added: “2021 has been the year of the power buyer, with those in the most powerful position to proceed quickly and with most certainty ruling the roost over other buyers who have to sell but have yet come to market.

“One agent’s analysis that 87 percent of their sales agreed were snapped up by buyers who were already in a position to proceed is fairly typical of reports from many agents.

“Buyers being able to prove they are mortgage-ready or have cash in the bank helps them get up the pecking order. While available stock for sale is still close to record lows, there are signs that this has stopped falling and is stabilising this month, so fresh new choice is slowly growing.

“As we approach the end of the year, many prospective buyers may be distracted by a more normal family Christmas than in 2020, giving more determined buyers who have already sold their own property an opportunity to act fast and buy with less competition.”

Industry experts have also reacted to the house price index for October.

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Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, said: “Instead of stumbling over the hurdle of a final stamp duty holiday deadline as many predicted, the market has posted an incredibly strong performance with asking prices climbing across every region.

“We’re now seeing definitive proof that while the stamp duty holiday may have acted as a starting pistol where the property market revival was concerned, the race certainly hasn’t been run and this strong upward growth is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon.

“While it seems too soon to talk about Christmas, it won’t be long before it arrives and while many will be eyeing up the New Year with regard to selling their home, now is the time to get your house in order so that come January 1, you’re on the market and attract interest.”

The pandemic has caused many homeowners to move areas as well as upsize their property.

The demand for property continues to rise into the autumn months.

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