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Records tumble after Rightmove reports busiest ever half-year

The busiest first half of a year ever recorded by Rightmove has led to a raft of new records for the housing market. 

The portal says the average asking price of property coming to market has now hit a new record high for the fourth consecutive month, and it is now £21,389 higher - equivalent to 6.7 per cent - in just six months. 

The new all-time high of £338,447 follows a monthly rise of 0.7 per cent - that’s the largest monthly rise at this time of year since July 2007. 

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Rightmove analysis has identified a shortfall of 225,000 homes for sale which, if available, would have helped to maintain a more normal level of property stock for sale and would have helped stabilise prices. 

The portal is warning that there is an urgent need for these low stocks of property for sale to be rebuilt in order for price stability to return.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property data director, says: “We predict that the number of completed sales will be the highest ever seen in a single month when June’s data is released by HMRC later this week. 

“This means it’s likely that the first half of 2021 has seen a record number of moves when compared with the first six months of any other year, induced by the pandemic’s side-effect of a new focus on what one’s home needs to provide. 

“Demand has also been boosted by the ongoing creation of new households, and property being seen as an asset to hold, with historically low returns from many other forms of investment. New stamp duty deadlines in England and Wales for sales completed by the end of June have also helped to exhaust the stock of property for sale and concentrate activity. This has left prospective purchasers with the lowest choice of homes for sale that we’ve ever recorded, continuing price rises, and stretched affordability.”

Rightmove expects that the number of sales completed in the first six months of the year and due to be reported by HMRC later this week is on course to be around 800,000, which could just beat the previous record of 795,000 set in 2007. 

The 2007 record was set under very different circumstances, at a time when mortgage lending criteria were much less stringent than in today’s more controlled market. 

The portal’s analysis shows that the shortfall of 225,000 homes for sale comes from 140,000 more sales being agreed and 85,000 fewer new listings than the long-term (2014-2019) average for the first half of a year. 

The net result of this major imbalance between supply and demand is that the average number of available properties for sale per estate agency branch is at a new record low of 16 properties, compared with the previous low before 2021 of 25 properties and a longer-term average for this time of year of 31.

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