UK property asking prices have hit an all-time record high of almost £300,000, new data suggests.
House sellers so far this month have been seeking an average of £299,287 across England and Wales, according to property website Rightmove.
The biggest increases were in London, where the average asking price has risen by 10.5 per cent over the last year, to £643,843, and in the East, where it rose 10.7 per cent to £321,630.
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Demand for housing is also increasing to record highs, with 4.9 million phone and email enquiries last month, the website said.
While demand has outstripped supply and helped push prices up in recent years, Rightmove said that there were now “welcome signs of fresh supply increasing, with the volume of new properties coming to the market is at the highest level since the credit crunch of 2008”.
But it warned that the increase is “patchy”, with only London, the South East, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber seeing above-average increases in stock. In the West Midlands, stock is down and the North West and Wales have only seen small stock increases, it said.
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The most common property types coming up for sale were those with two bedrooms or fewer – typically sought by first-time buyers – with the number of such new properties up by 10 per cent on this time last year, it said.
The website claimed 2016 could end up being “the year of the first-time buyer” due to the increased supply of such properties, combined with “low interest rates, initiatives such as Help to Buy, and buy-to-let investors facing increasingly adverse taxes”.
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Rightmove director Miles Shipside said the increase in these property types coming to market could be due to a wave of first-time sellers putting their homes on the market ahead of a stamp duty increase for buy-to-let investors in April.