Average asking prices have hit new highs, but there are signs the market is calming down, Rightmove says.
The portal’s latest listings data shows the price of goods put on the market hit a fourth consecutive record high of £367,501, up 2.1% on a monthly basis and 10.2% on an annual basis.
Its House Price Index also showed agents were bringing properties to contract sale in a record 31 days, underscoring low inventory levels and excess demand.
Market speed means available properties are down 16% from last year and 55% from 2019, with new stock desperately needed for two- and three-bedroom semi-detached homes, Rightmove said. .
Agreed sales are up 12% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2019, but in what Rightmove describes as a sign of market calm, they are down 17% annually.
The number of buyers contacting estate agents is down 14% in the stamp duty-fueled market this time last year, but up 31% in the more comparable market of 2019, the research found.
Rightmove predicted the market will moderate later this year as economic conditions hit and supply improves, but stuck to forecasts of 5% house price growth.
Tim Bannister, director of real estate science at Rightmove, said: “People may be wondering why the housing market seems to be running in the opposite direction to the broader economy at the moment.
“What the data is showing us right now is that those who have the capacity are prioritizing their home and moving, and the imbalance between supply and demand is supporting higher prices.
“Although demand is declining from the dizzying levels we saw at this time last year, the number of buyers requesting information is still significantly higher than during the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, while the number of houses to choose from remains more limited.
“We expect the effects of the rising cost of living and rising interest rates to ripple through the market later in the year, and a combination of increased supply of homes and people weighing what they can afford will help moderate the market. ”
Bannister also predicted sales would be closer to 1.2 million rather than last year’s 1.5 million.
He also urged buyers not to wait for a market decline due to a lack of certainty about the level of inventory and mortgage affordability.
Commenting on the data, Guy Gittins, managing director of estate agent Chestertons, said: “Before the pandemic, the market had three years of people concerned about the impact Brexit would have on the economy in addition to the potential change in government on maps.
“This has led many house hunters to put their property search on hold.
“Since the pandemic, however, market activity has completely shifted in the opposite direction as buyers have become much more concerned with living in the right property.
“Despite the cost of living and rising interest rates, the market shows no signs of slowing down and the strong buyer demand we have seen since the start of the year continued into the month of may.
“Buyer registrations for the year to date are at an all-time high, while the number of agreed sales in the hands of attorneys is at an all-time high.”