Average UK property prices grew at their fastest annual rate for nearly six years this January, according to the latest data from Rightmove.
The property portal’s house price index showed that average asking prices grew by 0.3% month-on-month, to stand at £341,019 in January 2022.
This contributed to a 7.6% rise in the overall annual growth rate for average house prices to January. Rightmove said the last time this figure was exceeded was when it reached 8.3% in May 2016.
The company added that first-time buyer asking prices reached a record level of £214,176 in January this year, a month-on-month increase of 1.4%.
According to Rightmove, the number of homes for sale per estate agency branch hit a record low of 12 properties in January, down two from the previous month.
Available homes continue to be snapped up at speed. The company said the average time to find a buyer in December 2021 was more than two weeks quicker than in the same month the previous year.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “New Year sellers and buyers have been quick off the mark this year, with Rightmove recording the highest ever number of Boxing Day sellers coming to market. Early-bird sellers who got themselves ready to come to market are now benefiting from the busiest start to the new year we’ve ever recorded.”
Competition among buyers for available homes also remains strong as we move into 2022, with 15% more enquiries from would-be buyers to estate agents than at the same time last year. With both more enquiries from buyers and fewer properties available, the overall level of buyer interest per available property is almost double what it was at the start of 2021, which was itself a very active market. As a result, more than 70% of the properties currently on estate agents’ books have already been sold, leaving less than 30% still available to buy.
Bannister says: “It’s clear that the trends which defined the market in 2021 have carried over into this year. That being said, we are seeing early signs of a better balanced market in 2022. The number of requests from would-be sellers to agents to value their home has continued to increase from the end of last year and was at one of its highest points ever on the first working day of this year. While this potential new supply will take a little while to appear on the market, it’s an encouraging sign of more choice for buyers in the coming months. The speed at which we’ve seen the fresh choice that has come to market being snapped up by eager buyers over the past 18 months is a reminder to buyers to move fast and book a viewing with the estate agent as soon as a property that could be the one for you comes to market. Almost 40% of people enquiring about a home who have a property to sell say that they are yet to put it on the market. In the current market, where they are competing against other buyers who are able to move more quickly, this is likely to mean they’ll miss out on the home they want. To put yourself in the best possible position to proceed, you should become a ‘power buyer’, by making sure your current home is on the market or preferably sold subject to contract first, before starting the search for your new home.”
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Source: Forbes Advisor, Rightmove