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There’s been a remarkable 1.7 per cent increase in the average asking price of homes coming to the market in just one month, according to Rightmove.

The national average is now £354,564 after the largest March increase for 18 years; in addition, the annual price growth rate of 10.4 per cent is the highest that Rightmove has recorded in any month since June 2014.

“This unprecedented price level is being stoked by the greatest imbalance between buyer demand and the number of properties available for sale that we have ever measured at this time of year. This is the strongest spring sellers’ market that we have ever seen in several metrics” says the portal in its latest snapshot, published this morning.

There are now more than twice as many buyers as sellers active in the market, which is the biggest mismatch between supply and demand that Rightmove has ever recorded at this time of year.

The speed of the market is further demonstrated by the fact that are there more than one in five deals being agreed on Rightmove within the first week of being marketed. This is double the figure for the same period in the more normal market of 2019.

Almost half are having a sale agreed within the first fortnight, another indicator of high demand and the likelihood of finding a buyer quickly.

“While these unprecedented numbers are helping to drive prices to new records, they do also show that there are a number of properties that will remain on the market after this time and that may benefit from a price reduction” cautions the portal.

 The largest monthly price rise has been recorded in the “top of the ladder” sector, predominantly comprising four bedroom or more properties.

This has seen a 3.8 per cent jump due to high demand and the greatest scarcity of supply, though encouragingly for prospective buyers in this sector 12 per cent more properties have come to market in the last month compared to the same period a year ago.

However it’s the more mass-market “second-stepper” sector that’s selling fastest, with just over half of these homes finding a buyer within the first two weeks of marketing.

Rightmove property data director Tim Bannister says: “Those who weren’t ready to take advantage of last year’s rush now have another chance to get on the market while these conditions last. Many of those who are selling in this record-breaking market obviously also face the prospect of buying again in the same market, and being in fierce competition against other buyers.

“Having a buyer for your own property, subject to contract, puts those who are buying again in a powerful position compared to buyers who have yet to sell, and agents report that these ‘power buyers’ are more likely to get the property that they want and negotiate the best deal on price.”

Bannister continues: “Agents report that despite the current high demand, a price reduction is often needed if a property has not found a buyer within the first two weeks.

“It could be that the property is too niche and has to wait for the right buyer with those specific requirements to come along, but more often it’s due to prospective buyers being underwhelmed by a seller looking for an over-optimistic asking price compared to other properties that are being snapped up at record speed. Acting quickly on a price reduction before the property goes stale can help to get sellers back on track for a speedier sale.”

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