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House prices jump to £355k with larger properties seeing rise in demand as people continue to work from home



The average price of a property rose to £354,564 in March, pushing the annual rate of increase to 10.4 per cent, new research shows.

The price of property coming to market went up for a second consecutive month, by £5,760, marking the largest average rise seen at this time of year since March 2004, according to Rightmove.

Increases were seen across the UK, with all regions and countries, except London and Scotland, now up over 10 per cent annually.

Currently, demand is being driven by large properties, predominantly those with four bedrooms or more.

These homes saw a monthly jump of £23,619, due to high demand and the greatest scarcity of supply.

Twelve per cent more large properties came onto the market in the last month compared to the same period a year ago.

Regionally, property prices are also continuing to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic.

Kate Eales, head of regional agency at Strutt & Parker, said: “The increase in demand for larger homes is evident as buyers search for more space including room for a home office.

“The trend of a significant number of people planning to work from home for three days a week or more in the longer term has created new hotspots across the country for part-time commuters, including Shropshire, North Cotswolds and Suffolk.

Regional price increases have been bolstered by buyers who have adapted to this competitive market by looking to neighbouring towns and villages to what may have been their preferred location.”

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Supply issues also continue to weigh on house prices – there are now more than twice as many buyers as sellers active in the market.

This is the biggest mismatch between supply and demand ever recorded for this time of year.

The speed of the market is also affecting prices, with more than one in five deals being agreed on Rightmove within the first week of being posted. This is double the figure for the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, almost half of sale deals are being agreed within a fortnight.

Mass-market “second-stepper” homes are selling at the fastest rate, with just over half finding a buyer with the first two weeks of marketing.

However, while the competitive market is helping to drive prices to new records, many properties are still likely to remain unsold, and may have to endure a price cut, estate agents suggest.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “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.”

Do you have a reader query, concern or a financial issue you want addressed? Contact: C.Coombe-Whitlock@inews.co.uk

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