Shortfall in homes coming on the market and high demand is fuelling high prices, says property website

House prices have risen 6.7% in just six months as fewer homes are being put on the market, Rightmove has said.

The property website said that the average asking price was £338,447 in July, a year-on-year increase of 5.7%. The average price is £21,389 higher than it was six months ago.

The first six months of the year saw a 39% increase in sales being agreed but a 15% drop in the number of homes coming to the market compared with the same period in 2019, said Rightmove. This equates to 140,000 more sales being agreed than the long-term average for the period, but 85,000 fewer new listings.

This mismatch in supply and demand has led to the average number of available properties for sale falling to 16 per estate agent, down from the longer-term average of 31, said Rightmove.

Rightmove is predicting that the number of completed sales for June will be the highest on record when they are released by HM Revenue & Customs later this week.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “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.”

Bannister said that the reduction of stamp duty relief on 30 June has helped to “exhaust the stock of property for sale and concentrate activity” and left buyers with the “lowest amount of choice of home for sale” Rightmove has ever recorded.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) last month also reported on a mismatch between demand and supply, saying that the gap between new buyer enquiries and sales instructions was at its widest for eight years in May.