Average property prices rise marginally between February and March

The average price of a property coming on to the market has risen by 0.8% or £2,484, between February and March according to the latest Rightmove House Price Index.

Average property prices rise marginally between February and March

The average price of a property coming on to the market has risen by 0.8% or £2,484, between February and March according to the latest Rightmove House Price Index.

As a result of the increase, the average property price in the UK in March was noted at £321,064, up from £318,580 in February.

As well as this, on an annual basis prices were up by 2.7%.

The index also shows that the number of potential buyers enquiring about each available property in the month is at a record, and is 34% higher than the same period a year ago.

The start of the traditional spring selling period has seen the number of sales agreed for the first week in March rise by 12% on the prior year, despite shortage of available stock.

Rightmove also noted it received a daily average of seven million visits to its site in February 2021, up 40% on the year prior.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Concerns of a cliff edge for the housing market at the end of March have dissipated, partly due to the tax deadline extensions in all of the UK bar Scotland, but also because the already high level of buyer demand caused by the lockdowns has continued to surge since the start of the year.

“This demand will be further boosted from April by the new government guarantees enabling lenders to bring back 5% deposit mortgages.

“Whilst it is unfortunately not the perfect time to buy for some people who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, the record buyer demand measured by Rightmove indicates that now is the right time for many.

“Record low interest rates and the new focus on what your home needs to offer after several lockdowns have led us to the greatest excess of demand over supply in the last ten years.

“This strong sellers’ market is good news for those who are looking to put their home on the market as the traditional Easter selling season approaches.

“Blossoming buyer demand coinciding with blossoming gardens should put a spring in the steps of sellers, and more of them coming to market will provide a much-needed increase in the choice of property for the many who are looking to buy.

“So many sales have been agreed in recent months that we now face a serious shortage of homes available for sale.

“There are lots of reasons why many home-owners have hesitated to come to market during the first two months of the year, but these do now seem to be dissipating.

“A recovery in fresh supply gives more choice to prospective buyers, many of whom are also potential sellers, which in turn encourages more of them to come to market.

“Greater supply to match the high demand would ease upwards price pressure. Price rises will also be tempered by the tighter lending criteria imposed by the Bank of England upon lenders following the Mortgage Market Review in 2014.

“Restrictions on borrowers’ income multiples alongside stress testing of future affordability were specifically designed to guard against the destructive booms and busts of the past, limiting buyer borrowing power and preventing excessive price movements.

“The current annual rate of house price increase stands at a historically modest rate of 2.7%, but we stand by our forecast for the year of 4% which we published in December."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: "The latest Rightmove numbers reflect what we've seen on the ground over the past few weeks – release of more pent-up demand after a post-Christmas pause.

'Thegovernment's well-trailed Budget announcements extending the stamp duty holidayandfurlough scheme, as well asintroducinga guarantee forhigh loan-to-value mortgageshas reduced uncertainty and boostedconfidence.
"The easing of lockdown restrictions and accelerated rollout of the vaccine is also persuading more homeowners to make properties available for sale for the traditionally busier spring market, which will bring more balance and help to keep prices in check."
Tomer Aboody, director of MT Finance, said: 'The extension of the stamp duty holiday has further boosted confidence, which was already high, in the housing market.
"Buyer demand has dramatically increased over the past year due to the requirement for more space. Many Londoners have been looking for much larger pastures new, heading to the traditional commuter belts of Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Berkshire, and even further afield such as Norfolk.
"More space - both inside and out - combined with better of quality of life for the children is more than ever the number one priority for families.
"With lower-priced properties outside the capital, combined with low interest rates for those requiring mortgages, it is a win-win scenario.
"Demand is such that more stock is definitely needed, however. Hopefully the spring and summer sunshine will bring more properties to market, with many buyers waiting to pounce.
"While we are living in such a low interest-rate environment, the market should remain bullish for a while."