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UK house prices hit a new high in June and are 30% higher than the peak they reached before the 2008 financial crisis, according to the latest snapshot of the market.

The property website Zoopla said the average price of a home was £230,700 – as much as 5.4% higher than the same month a year ago.

It said the sharp increase had come as the number of homes being put on the market for sale had dropped by 25% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2020.

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Zoopla also said the demand for houses was more than double that in the years before the pandemic, and that family homes were particularly popular. Supply has failed to keep pace with demand since January 2021, with no sign of an imminent rebalance.

The findings echoed a study published on Monday by a rival property firm, NAEA Propertymark, which said that 40% of UK properties sold in June went for more than the original asking price, as fewer buyers fought for limited available stock.

It noted the 40% figure was the highest on record, although it also said the average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch fell very slightly in June, down from 12 to 11 in May. Last week Rightmove said frenzied buyer activity was driving the market ever higher.

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Propertymark’s chief policy adviser, Mark Hayward, said there were typically 19 buyers per available property.

“We are very firmly still in a strong sellers’ market; properties are being snapped up swiftly and at record high UK house prices. We do anticipate a rebalancing of the market over the coming months as the stamp duty holiday continues to be phased out and people return to normality,” he said.

According to the latest snapshot from Zoopla, Northern Ireland and Wales registered the highest growth of 8.6% and 8.4% respectively over the last year. This represented the highest growth for 16 years in Wales.

The market remained polarised in London, with demand in the capital’s suburban areas 86% higher than the 2017-19 average, while interest in inner London was just 2% higher.

Zoopla said it expected price growth to edge upwards to 6% in the coming months, before easing back to 4-5% towards the end of the year as the impact of extended stamp duty unwinds.

By Miles Brignall

Source: The Guardian

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