Rightmove recorded one of the biggest monthly cash jumps in asking prices in more than 20 years, hitting a staggering £348,804 this month. House prices usually rise in February compared to January, according to the UK’s largest property portal. The annual rate of asking price growth is also the highest recorded since September 2014, having risen by 9.5 percent.
This means house prices have increased by a staggering £40,000 in the two years since the pandemic began.
In the two years before the pandemic, prices only increased by £9,000.
Despite the return to the office and the lifting of most Covid restrictions, the pandemic continues to influence many home moves.
Rightmove said February’s growth can be attributed to “second steppers” who are looking for more space from their next home.
More buyers are sending enquiries to estate agents, with the number 16 percent higher compared to the same time last year.
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Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data said some buyers have become what is known as “power buyers” where they sell their own home first.
However, lack of property stock is still a “challenge” for some estate agents, according to Ben Hudson, Managing Director at Hudson Moody in York.
He said: “Like many, our biggest challenge is a lack of stock.
“As soon as anything new comes onto the market, it is flying off the shelf, with multiple buyers competing for the final sale.
“With so many potential buyers, many properties at the moment are selling above asking price, which can make valuing a property accurately a challenge as we don’t want to give unrealistic expectations.
“It can be difficult for buyers at the moment, with not a lot of choice and tough competition for the properties available.”
The coronavirus pandemic saw a plethora of people leaving urban settings to more rural hotspots.
However, with more people returning to city areas for work, London has recorded the biggest annual jump in the number of buyers sending enquiries compared to any region.
The capital has also seen the highest annual rate of price growth since 2016.
Mr Bannister said data suggests that people are still being driven by the pandemic to move house.
He continued: “Such a significant societal event means that even two years on from the start of the pandemic, people are continuing to re-consider their priorities and where they want to live.
“As the final legal restrictions look to be ending soon, and more businesses are encouraging a return to the office for at least part of the week, we now have a group of movers who are looking to return closer to major cities, or at least within comfortable commuting distance of their workplaces.
“High demand and a shortage of available stock are supporting a rise in prices and a new record average asking price this month.
“The rising cost of living is undoubtedly affecting many people’s finances, especially those trying to save up enough for a deposit to get on the ladder or to trade up.
“However, despite rising costs and rising interest rates, the data right now shows demand rising across the whole of Great Britain, with many people determined to move as we head into the spring home-moving season.”