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The average price of property coming to market has risen by 0.3% (£852), to £341,019, according to Rightmove.

This is 7.6% higher than in January 2021, the highest annual rate of price growth recorded by Rightmove since May 2016.

First-time buyer asking prices hit a record £214,176 after a monthly jump of 1.4%.

The number of buyers enquiring about homes was 15% higher than the same time last year, and the number of available homes for sale per estate agency branch dropped to a record low of 12.

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The number of home valuation requests in the first working week of 2022 was 44% up on the same period last year, and 48% up on the same period in 2020.

Competition among buyers for available homes remained strong, with 15% more enquiries from would-be buyers to estate agents than at the start of last year.

With both more enquiries from buyers and fewer properties available, the overall level of buyer interest per available property was found to be almost double what it was at the start of 2021.

As a result, more than 70% of the properties currently on estate agents’ books have already been sold, leaving less than 30% still available to buy.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “New Year sellers and buyers have been quick off the mark this year, with Rightmove recording the highest ever number of Boxing Day sellers coming to market.

“These early-bird sellers who got themselves ready to come to market are now benefitting from the busiest start to the year that we’ve ever recorded, with the number of prospective buyers enquiring about homes up 15% on this time last year.

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“People who have made it their New Year’s resolution to move are finding asking prices are within just one per cent of the record from October last year, and are at the highest level ever recorded for first-time-buyer type homes.

“All of the signs suggest that prices are likely to continue to rise until more choice is available.

“Three regions are in most urgent need of new supply, the East Midlands, South West and South East of England, as they are now at unsustainable rates of annual price growth above 10%.”

“It’s clear that the trends which defined the market in 2021 have carried over into this year. That being said, we are seeing early signs of a better balanced market in 2022.

“The number of requests from would-be sellers to agents to value their home has continued to increase from the end of last year and was at one of its highest points ever on the first working day of this year.

“While this potential new supply will take a little while to appear on the market, it’s an encouraging sign of more choice for buyers in the coming months.

“The speed at which we’ve seen the fresh choice that has come to market being snapped up by eager buyers over the past 18 months is a reminder to buyers to move fast and book a viewing with the estate agent as soon as a property that could be the one for you comes to market.

“Almost 40% of people enquiring about a home who have a property to sell say that they are yet to put it on the market.

“In the current market, where they are competing against other buyers who are able to move more quickly, this is likely to mean they’ll miss out on the home they want.

“To put yourself in the best possible position to proceed, you should become a ‘power buyer’, by making sure your current home is on the market or preferably sold subject to contract first, before starting the search for your new home.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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