Asking prices hit record highs in April with homes targeted at first-time buyers driving growth, according to figures from Rightmove.
The portal’s latest House Price Index showed average prices on listings nationally hit a record high of £313,655, up 2.2% on a yearly basis and exceeding the previous high of £310,471 set in June 2016, but typical first-time buyer homes surged 6.5% in the 12 months to April 2017 at £194,881.
Second stepper properties were up 3.1% year-on-year to £265,940 while those at the top of the ladder increased 1.8% to £555,963.
Rightmove also reported that sales agreed, based on properties listed as sold subject to completion, were up 10% annually, the highest point at this time of year since 2007.
This helped time on the market fall from 71 days in February to 65 in March, while stock increased from 52 to 65 over the same period.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said: “High buyer demand in most parts of the country has helped to propel the price of newly marketed property to record highs.
“There are signs of a strong spring market with the number of sales agreed achieved at this time of year being the highest since 2007.
“It remains to be seen what effect the run-up to the snap election will have, though any slowdown in activity will be counterbalanced by the market’s current fast pace. Indeed, in locations where choice of suitable property is limited, hesitation could mean losing out to others who still decide to act.”
He predicted that stretched buyer affordability will continue to be a price moderator for sellers who are over-ambitious with their pricing, tempering the pace of price rises.
Shipside added: “Strong buyer activity this month has led to 10% higher numbers of sales agreed than in the same period in 2016. This large year-on-year disparity should be viewed cautiously as the comparable timespan in 2016 saw a drop in buy-to-let activity with the additional second home stamp duty.
“However, they are also up by 3.8% when compared to 2015. With the growth in household numbers and new-build supply struggling to keep pace, demand is strong and has led to the highest sales agreed numbers at this time of year since the heady pre credit-crunch levels.”