Proportion of homes’ asking price paid by buyers near 97pc

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Home buyers are now paying nearly 97 per cent of the asking price of a property, marking the highest average percentage seen in nearly 12 years, according to a new report.

Property analyst Hometrack said April’s figures also showed early signs the London market is starting to soften, amid evidence that buyers are becoming less willing to meet sellers’ prices in the face of the recent strong hikes in house values seen in the capital.

Across England and Wales, prices rose by 0.6 per cent month-on-month in April, which is the same increase seen in March – and the time it takes to sell a property has fallen to just over six weeks on average, marking the quickest time period for homes flying off the market seen since June 2007.

Prices increased by 0.5 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber, which was lower than the 0.8 per cent in London and the South-West and the 0.7 per cent in the South-East and East Anglia, but higher than the 0.3 per cent recorded in the East Midlands, the West Midlands and the North-West and the 0.2 per cent in the North-East.

Hometrack said demand in the housing market is continuing to grow at a faster rate than the supply of homes coming on the market, which is keeping an upward pressure on house prices.

But Hometrack also cautioned that London, which is seen as the engine of the housing market, is starting to see emerging signs of “price resistance” among buyers. The typical length of time it takes for a London property to sell has increased by almost a week over the last month to just under three and-a-half weeks.

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that London house values have surged by 17.7 per cent over the last year to reach £458,000 on average, while the UK as a whole has seen a 9.1 per cent annual increase.

Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said of the London market: “While these changes indicate very strong market conditions, they suggest that buyers are starting to become less willing to bid up the cost of housing at recent rates.”

Mr Donnell said that the impetus for house price growth looks set to spread across regional housing markets over the coming year.