Average asking price hit record high of £305,700 in April, says Rightmove

House sellers' asking prices reached a new high of £305,732 on average in April, according to an index.

Across Britain, the average price of new-to-the-market property edged up by 0.4% or £1,228 month-on-month, Rightmove said.

The increase pushed the average price tag on a home over a previous record of £304,943 seen in July 2017.

Rightmove said that on average sellers are achieving 96.7% of their final asking price, a gap of just over £10,000 on the current national asking price.

The percentage gap between asking and selling prices has increased from 2.8% to 3.3% over the past two years Rightmove said, in evidence that some sellers may be demanding unrealistically high prices.

But buyers should not expect a 3.3% discount and many properties still sell for the asking price or over, the report said.

House sellers' asking prices
Rightmove's figures show regional trends in house sellers' average asking prices across Britain (Rightmove/PA)

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "Home buyers are seeing average asking prices at their highest ever level with upwards price pressure getting stronger the further away you move from London.

"However, higher prices stretch buyers' willingness to pay or ability to afford them.

"This month's increase of 0.4% is the lowest at this time of year since 2008, though the subdued figure could partly be a re-balancing from the seasonally large 1.5% rise the previous month.

"The earlier Easter Bank Holidays and heavy snow disrupting property marketing will also have an effect on like-for-like comparisons with last year."

March was the busiest month ever on the Rightmove website with over 142 million visits.

Mr Shipside continued: "In the more popular locations and for the property with the right specifications, buyer demand is helping to push prices higher.

"A lack of choice is nudging prices up to test the ceiling of what the market will pay.

"It's not rampant price inflation, and buyers can easily spot a speculative price and ignore a property that is out of line with others nearby, and is also likely to be out of kilter with their pocket."

Rightmove also quoted the views of estate agents.

Mark Manning, director of Manning Stainton in Leeds, Harrogate, Wetherby and Wakefield said: "We have continued to see strong growth in the number of new first-time buyers with a 15% increase compared to last year and not surprisingly further upward movement in our average house price with the biggest rises in the middle market and those looking for family homes near good schools which remain in short supply."

Lucy Pendleton, co-founder director of independent estate agents James Pendleton in south London, said unrealistic pricing "is a favourite way for vendors to shoot themselves in the foot".

She said: "Many sellers could have improved the amount paid for their homes if they had encouraged more viewings on day one, rather than going for gold with an over-ambitious ticket price.

"Being in denial about this means you will only deny yourself the best possible price for your property."

David Plumtree, Connells Group estate agency chief executive, said: "It is clear to see that market conditions have somewhat 'softened' due in part to affordability concerns.

"We do, however, expect market conditions to show improvement, as is traditional at this time of year, and saw some signs of resurgence over Easter and therefore anticipate a stronger Spring period.

"It remains a sellers' market with an imbalance between buyer demand and available stock - lack of stock continues to be an issue for our branches."

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