NAEA Propertymark says a record number of transactions are taking four months to move from offer to exchange.
The organisation says this was one of the key reasons why it campaigned for the extension of the stamp duty holiday which was - until recently - scheduled to end tomorrow.
In February, the latest data available, the number of property transactions taking over 17 weeks from the offer being accepted to exchanging contracts, increased again to 27 per cent from 26 per cent the previous month – the highest figure on record.
Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at Propertymark, says: “It’s interesting to see that one in nine properties sold for more than the original asking price in February. Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed a boom in the number of prospective buyers and the number of sales taking place following the government’s announcement of a stamp duty holiday, and so it seems many buyers are willing to pay over the asking price in order to secure their dream home.
“We are also seeing a record high for the number of transactions taking more than 17 weeks from the offer being accepted to exchanging contracts due to this unusually high demand for property. This is one of the reasons we campaigned for an extension to the stamp duty holiday; to prevent sales falling through due to delays in the chain.”
Data from Propertymark also suggests that in February one in nine properties sold for more than the original asking price. This is the highest figure recorded since August last year and the highest figure on record for the month of February since 2016. Some 57 per cent of properties sold for less than the original asking price.
The number of sales made to first time buyers rose to 25 per cent in February, from 23 per cent in January; this was the highest figure recorded since July 2020 and year-on-year is an increase from 22 per cent in February 2020.
In terms of demand, in February the average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch stood at 388, a 20 per cent decrease from 487 in January. However, this is the highest figure recorded for the month of February since 2017, when the figure stood at 425.
On sales, the average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at 11 in February, an increase from 10 in January.
Year-on-year, this figure is up from nine sales agreed per estate agent branch in February 2020 and seven sales agreed per estate agent branch in February 2019.
The average number of properties available per member branch stood at 34 in February, falling from 38 in January.