In December, research from Zoopla showed that the number of properties across the UK selling for less than their original asking price was growing – but new data indicates the situation may now be reversed.
The latest research from Rightmove looking at how much properties originally go on the market for compared to the price at which they finally sell has revealed that the number of homes fetching asking price has reached its highest level since June 2016.
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While 74% of properties ended up selling for less than their original market price in February, the number that sold for exactly asking price was 22%, compared to the 26% high last seen in June 2016 – indicating that the market is finally shifting as confidence returns to the UK housing sector.
Rightmove also reported that four regions across the country had seen record highs in asking prices in the past month, up by 1.5% which is the largest March increase seen since 2007.
Wales, the north-west, and the East and West Midlands all had record-high asking prices, according to the research – although the number of properties coming onto the market is still less than average.
First-time buyers taking advantage of stamp duty changes
According to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the number of house-hunters registered at estate agents across the UK was 16% lower in February compared to January, and down by 28% year-on-year, to just 309 per branch. Meanwhile, the number of properties for sale at each branch was down to 35 in February compared to 36 in January, indicating a correlation between supply and demand.
First-time buyers seem to be snapping up homes since the stamp duty relief changes came into effect, with the proportion of sales to first-timers rising to 29% last month compared to 27% in January.
However, the 2% rise isn’t as significant as might have been expected, according to Mark Hayward, CEO of the NAEA. He believes many first-time buyers are delaying getting on the property ladder so they can spend more time saving up, because house prices are still very high. He added:
“As the cost of living continues to rise – with consumer price inflation standing at 2.5 per cent in February – we still have a long way to go to make the dream of owning a home accessible to all, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.”