The average price tag on a home in Britain jumped by nearly £2,500 in March, in signs that the market for sellers is at its strongest in a decade, according to a property website.
Rightmove said average asking prices rose by 0.8%, or £2,484, month on month in March, taking the typical price sellers are seeking to £321,064.
Nearly two out of every three (62%) properties on estate agents’ books are now sold subject to contract, it added.
Meanwhile, the number of potential buyers inquiring about each available property is 34% higher than a year ago.
One estate agent reported having 17 potential buyers chasing every new home listed typically.
Buyers are eagerly anticipating fresh choice coming to market, making it the best sellers’ market of the past 10 years, Rightmove said.
Rightmove said that, in February, its website averaged seven million visits daily – 40% up on the same month in 2020.
Demand is being driven by the knock-on effects of coronavirus lockdowns and the additional spur of Government incentives, the report said.
Lifestyle changes during the pandemic have prompted people to search for new properties to accommodate their changing needs, with previous reports indicating that home offices and rural and seaside locations have been particularly popular.
A stamp duty holiday was recently extended in the Budget and a 5% deposit mortgage guarantee scheme will start soon.
Rightmove expects prices to increase further during the spring selling season, which is traditionally a busy time.
It added that the current excess of buyer demand over supply is the largest it has seen in the past 10 years and suggests that this could be one of the best ever Easters to sell.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, 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 10 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.”
Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves in London, said: “While price growth has been understandably subdued in some areas, such as prime central London, a lack of supply to meet the huge levels of buyer demand seen in recent months means that, by and large, sellers are securing a very good price for their home. This is a trend we expect to see intensify over the coming months.”
He added: “We’re seeing the outer suburbs of London perform extremely well right now.”
Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “Across all our branches, the rate that new buyers are coming to the market is much faster than the rate at which new homes are being listed for sale, with 17 buyers chasing every new home that we listed last month.
“However, we are starting to see signs of rebalancing as more vendors have been in contact over the past week following the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday extension.
“For those considering a sale in the next 12 months, now is certainly the time to act to ensure you can take advantage of current favourable market conditions.
“Vendors who have had their properties accurately valued and have been realistic on pricing should expect attractive offers and a prompt exchange.”