House buyers in England & Wales are paying 97 per cent of the asking price for the first time

Reports are now showing that house buyers in England and Wales are now paying the largest proportion of asking prices in well over a decade. Not since September of 2002 has the average percentage been at this level. Other promising figures suggest that the UK’s housing market overall may be on the mend, although London’s my not be quite as strong as it has been.

The past two months have seen prices rise by 0.6 percent consecutively, coinciding with a shortening of the time it takes to sell a property. It’s now a little over six weeks on average, which is the shortest period of time since midway through 2007.

A short time to sell is generally representative of houses being listed at a realistic price, and that there are eager buyers in the area. When it takes a long time to sell, this can indicate anything from lending difficulties to too much demand. More and more people are using services like Quick Move Conveyancing to help speed up the process of purchase.

London and the South West has been the strongest area for price increases, with month-on-month figures of 0.8 percent. The situation becomes less impressive the further north you go, with rises of between 0.2 and 0.3 percent in the North West and North East, though this is frequently the case.

Part of the reason for the price rise is that demand for housing still exceeds supply. This can be a problem when it gets to a critical level, but at this stage it can help to keep the market healthy.

While the top-level figure of overall price increases by region is useful to look at, it’s also important to see the spread within that. In London for instance, although there was a strong increase in property value, only 48 percent of homes outside London actually did actually rise in price.

There are other signs that London, often seen as the major indicator of the health of the market, is softening slightly. While the average length of time to sell is down overall, in London, it’s extended slightly to almost three and a half weeks. The average proportion of asking price achieved has also seen a slide, this time by 0.3 percent. In March, it was an impressive 99 percent.

This is of course on the back of extremely strong performance over the last year; prices have gone up by almost twice the rate of the rest of the country, with average prices at more than £450,000.

Compare listings