Average price tag on a home in Britain has topped £350,000, says Rightmove

Rightmove said asking prices generally are 10.4% higher than a year ago

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The average price tag on a home in Britain has topped £350,000 for the first time, according to website Rightmove.

Sellers were typically asking £354,564 for a property in March – 1.7% or £5,760 more than in February – the website revealed.

It is the biggest monthly increase seen at this time of year since March 2004.

The average price of a “top of the property ladder” home with at least four bedrooms increased by 3.8% or £23,619 this month, reaching £647,112.

Rightmove said asking prices generally are 10.4% higher than a year ago – the highest figure it has recorded in any month since June 2014.

Asking prices are being stoked by an imbalance between buyer demand and the number of properties available for sale, making it a strong spring sellers’ market, Rightmove said.

There are now more than twice as many buyers as sellers active in the market according to the website, which it said is the biggest mismatch between supply and demand that it has ever recorded at this time of year.

Agents report that despite the current high demand, a price reduction is often needed if a property has not found a buyer within the first two weeks

People looking at homes for sale in an estate agents window
People looking at homes for sale in an estate agents window

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data said: “Many of those who are selling in this record-breaking market obviously also face the prospect of buying again in the same market, and being in fierce competition against other buyers.

“Having a buyer for your own property, subject to contract, puts those who are buying again in a powerful position compared to buyers who have yet to sell, and agents report that these ‘power buyers’ are more likely to get the property that they want and negotiate the best deal on price.”

Mr Bannister continued: “Agents report that despite the current high demand, a price reduction is often needed if a property has not found a buyer within the first two weeks.

“It could be that the property is too niche and has to wait for the right buyer with those specific requirements to come along, but more often it’s due to prospective buyers being underwhelmed by a seller looking for an over-optimistic asking price compared to other properties that are being snapped up at record speed. Acting quickly on a price reduction before the property goes stale can help to get sellers back on track for a speedier sale.”

Kate Eales, head of regional agency at Strutt & Parker said: “We’re beginning to see incremental increases in the number of homes coming to the market as we enter spring.

“The increase in demand for larger homes is evident as buyers search for more space including room for a home office.

“The trend of a significant number of people planning to work from home for three days a week or more in the longer term has created new hotspots across the country for part-time commuters including Shropshire, North Cotswolds and Suffolk.

“Regional price increases have been bolstered by buyers who have adapted to this competitive market by looking to neighbouring towns and villages to what may have been their preferred location.”