Rightmove reports busiest-ever January as buyers scramble for falling number of quality homes

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RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY website Rightmove has reported its busiest-ever January as would-be buyers scramble for a falling number of quality homes, pushing up prices by an average of 2.1 per cent across the UK.

The company said housing demand is at a record high with website visits smashing through the 100m barrier in January for the first time and home-hunters scouring a record 1.5bn pages of property.

It received 100 enquiries a minute during peak times.

The update suggests that the forthcoming general election has failed to dampen buyer interest.

Rightmove said decades of undersupply are having an increasing effect on the residential market, resulting in a shortage of quality property for buyers to trade up to.

It reported a 31 per cent increase in housing transactions in last two years in England and Wales, outstripping the 11 per cent rise in number of properties coming to market in same period.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “For the right property at the right price, demand is outstripping supply and leading to some further upwards price pressure.

“However there is a limit to what the majority are willing or can afford to pay, especially with the tighter lending criteria.”

Rightmove said lower owner-occupation, buy-to-let investors not selling, and owners’ reluctance to “sell before you find” have contributed to a 4 per cent fall in new seller numbers in January.