Average house prices in the UK grew by 2.9% in February compared to last year, according to Rightmove.
The latest figures from the online property website revealed that average house prices have risen by £2,589 over the past month, a 0.8% monthly rise. It means the average price of a home in the UK was £309,399 in February, just £40 less than the all-time record average UK house price that was set in June 2018.
Rightmove said this latest surge to near-record prices was helped by another record 152 million visits on its site in January, with 12% more agreed sales last month compared to January 2019. Rightmove’s data was based on the asking prices of more than 108,000 properties, or around 95% of the current UK housing market.
“There is a boom in buyer activity outstripping the rise in the number of new sellers, which we expect to lead to a series of new price records starting next month,” said Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove. “This means that spring buyers are likely to be faced with the highest average asking prices ever seen in Britain.
“Buyers who had been hesitating and waiting for the greater political certainty following the election outcome may be paying a higher price, but they can now jump into the spring market with renewed confidence.
“After three years of Brexit uncertainty, dither and delay, many now seem to have the 2020 vision that this is the year to satisfy their pent-up housing needs. Owners coming to market this spring face the best selling prospects for several years, with good demand for the right properties at the right prices.
“It’s the first time for over a year that we have seen any sign of a return of seller confidence, albeit lagging behind the surge in numbers of early-bird buyers. Owners coming to market this spring face the best selling prospects for several years, with good demand for the right properties at the right prices.
“However, sellers should be careful not to get carried away with their pricing, as this is still a price-sensitive market with stretched buyer affordability. Those who over-price risk missing out on the window of increased activity that could run at least until we approach the next Brexit deadline at the end of the year.
“Now could be an excellent time to get on the market and sell, seizing the opportunity of achieving a quick sale at a decent price.”
Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, said: “Since the election, we’ve certainly seen a significant uptick in new buyer demand in the prime market which creates a real opportunity for sellers while stock for sale remains relatively low.
“Increased confidence is translating into increased activity, both in the prime market and across the wider market as a whole. It is clear that the market remains largely dictated by sentiment. Our own agents are reporting that the vast majority of buyers remain unwilling to increase their budgets.
“Accordingly, our advice remains that sellers need to remain pragmatic on price, particularly given some of the uncertainty around an impending budget, the first of the new government.”