Asking prices for three and four bedroom homes have hit record highs as buyers battle for more space amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, according to a property website.
Rightmove said activity – aided by the current stamp duty holiday – was being driven by high demand for gardens and more space to work from home as COVID-19 disrupts day-to-day life.
It estimated that September sales were 40% up on the same month a year ago, with “second stepper” homes – flats or semi-detached properties with between three to four bedrooms – reaching a record average asking price of £291,618.
The website reported that asking prices rose 0.2% overall during the month – 5% up on a year ago – to almost £320,000 and that areas outside London and the South East were seeing the largest leaps.
Its study builds on other recent surveys which suggest values have hit record levels following the easing of the lockdown on the back of pent up demand.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak moved to support the recovery by announcing in July that the threshold for paying stamp duty would be raised temporarily from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31 March.
But market experts have cautioned that the price rally is likely to run out of steam later in the year and into 2021 because of the growing crisis for jobs and incomes caused by the pandemic.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, pointed to strong competition for properties on the market.
“With overall asking prices just a few hundred pounds shy of July’s record, and buyer demand at an all-time high, those currently looking for their next home are likely to find that only offers close to the asking price will be considered, especially for larger homes,” he said.