The sales market saw the greatest excess of demand over supply in the last decade this month, pushing up the average property price by 0.8%.
Rightmove’s House Price Index reports that the number of potential buyers enquiring about each available property is at a record high and 34% higher than a year ago, with sales already agreed for almost two out of three properties on agents’ books.
The number of sales agreed for the first week in March was up by 12% on the previous year, despite a shortage of available stock.
Rightmove itself recorded a daily average of more than seven million visits to the platform in February, 40% up on February 2020.
It believes these are early signs that more owners are now deciding to market their properties, spurred by incentives and lockdown easing.
It anticipates further price rises during the traditional spring selling season, says Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data (pictured).
“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,” he says.
“This demand will be further boosted from April by the new government guarantees enabling lenders to bring back 5% deposit mortgages.”
There are early signs that the supply shortage might be easing, adds Bannister, as new listings are building momentum in the weekly run-rate; for the first week in March these were only 5% down compared to the previous year, after being more than 20% down in February.
Ben Taylor (pictured), CEO of Keller Williams, says: “Hold on to your hats folks, we’re now entering what is traditionally the busiest time of year for the UK property market and with the added boost of a stamp duty holiday extension, it’s likely to be a wild ride.
“With many now realising that the chances of completing before the March deadline are slim, this is no longer the case and we’re seeing a gradual return to normality where both seller expectation and homebuyer budgets are concerned.”
Nick Leeming (pictured) , Chairman of Jackson Stops, said: “Buyers have snapped up stock rapidly across the housing market over the last six months, eroding inventory levels across the country. At the same time, lockdown has meant homeowners have continued to reassess what they want from their properties and this, coupled with the stamp duty holiday, has created a swell in demand. Add to this a renewed appetite for a British bolt hole.”