Buyer surge sees more homes sold for over asking price

There were 425 potential buyers registered per estate agency branch in January, up 10% compared with the previous month, while housing supply continues to fall.

A higher number of properties sold by estate agents last month went for in excess of the original asking price, according to fresh data from an industry body.

Some 7% of the homes in January sold for more than the original asking price, up from around 5% the previous month, which could be a symptom of improving confidence in the housing market, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) says.

The number of house hunters registered per estate agency branch rose by 10% month-on-month to an average of 425, while the volume of homes available to buy on estate agents’ books in January was 38, down from 41 in December and the lowest level recorded since July 2016.

The widening supply-demand imbalance means that there are now 11 purchasers chasing each property for sale, and if this trend continues, it is likely to place upward pressure on houses prices across many parts of the country.

The South West of England was the region with the highest number of properties selling for more than the initial asking price.

Shropshire, Hampshire and the Midlands are the areas which have the most house hunters compared to the number of properties available.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, commented: “January saw a surge in buyers looking to kick off the New Year with a new home – but competition is rife with an average of 11 buyers chasing each property.

“The increase in the number of properties selling for more than asking price in January could be a result of heightened interest and the fact there is simply not enough housing to meet demand.

“When the government issued their housing white paper at the start of February we stated how important it was for the industry to put forward robust solutions to really make a difference and it’s vital that building more affordable housing is at the very top of their agenda.”

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