Average UK house prices hit record high for third consecutive month

Prices surge to £360,101 in three-month period to April, the biggest increase recorded by property site Rightmove

Properties in the UK are achieving 98.9 per cent of the final advertised asking price on average, Rightmove says. PA

Average UK house prices hit a record high of £360,101 in April, the third month in a row a new benchmark has been set, property site Rightmove said on Monday.

Over the past three months, the average property asking price has surged by £19,082 ― the biggest jump the site has recorded for a similar period since its records started.

It said the average asking price rose by £5,537 in the past month alone.

More than half (53%) of properties are selling at, or over, their final advertised asking price, amid high demand for a limited stock of properties, Rightmove said. It is the highest percentage its platform has measured, Rightmove said.

Properties are achieving 98.9 per cent of the final advertised asking price on average, which is also the highest percentage in Rightmove's records.

Properties are not only going for more, they are also being sold at a quicker rate. The average time it takes to sell a property has halved over the past three years, Rightmove figures show. Three years ago, the average time to sell was 67 days, but that has fallen to 33 days for listings on the website.

"With three new monthly price records in a row, 2022 has started with price rise momentum even greater than during the stamp duty holiday-fuelled market of last year," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove's director of property data.

"While growing affordability constraints mean that this momentum is not sustainable for the longer term, the high demand from a large number of buyers chasing too few properties for sale has led to a spring price frenzy, a hat-trick of record price months.

The strong momentum has carried over from last year, he said.

"The high speed of the market and competition among buyers when making an onward move will be deterring some owners from putting their homes up for sale.

"However, if you can secure both a quick sale and a quick purchase then it's a lot less stressful than the uncertainties of a slower market when finding a buyer for your own home can drag on for months or not happen at all."

Property momentum trumping inauspicious economic backdrop

The surging property market is countercyclical but the exponential growth is predicted to ease off in coming months.

"The economic headwinds of strongly rising inflation and modestly rising interest rates are being kept at bay by the even stronger tailwind of property market momentum that has carried over from last year," said Mr Bannister.

"2021 saw four consecutive monthly price records from April through to July and I would not bet against that being bettered this year as we are already at three consecutive records in April.

There are some early signs of an easing off from the frenetic pace of price rises, and buyer inquiries to agents are down by 16 per cent on last year's stamp-duty frenzy, Mr Bannister said.

"However, incredibly, buyer inquiries are still 65 per cent above the more normal market of 2019 and the number of sales agreed is up 21 per cent."

"With the demand and supply imbalance being so out of kilter, it looks like any substantial slowdown will be gradual in coming and be a soft rather than hard landing.

"It seems likely that the supply/demand mismatch will remain for at least the rest of this year. Even with some economic uncertainty, where you live and your home is such a fundamental decision for people that it will remain a priority for many."

Cambridge attracts London leavers

The report also quoted the views of estate agents.

"Well marketed and sensibly priced homes are in huge demand, with a queue of proceedable buyers waiting in the wings, which has resulted in homes launching onto the market and being snapped up within a matter of days," said Jon Brierley, managing director at Lennon James Property in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

"The influx of buyers relocating to Cambridgeshire from London and the M25 corridor has been particularly noticeable with employers being more relaxed around home working."

Ailsa Mather, director at Andrew Coulson in Hexham, Northumberland, said she is finding there is "still a huge demand for property but supplies of stock are low".

"It means a lot of buyers are chasing the same houses, resulting in many properties going to best offers," she said.

Updated: April 25, 2022, 11:58 AM