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April 19, 2021, 1:03 a.m. EDT

U.K. house prices at new high on record sales pace

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By Joe Hoppe

U.K. property portal Rightmove PLC said Monday that the average price of property coming to market in the U.K. rose again in March, with properties selling at the fastest pace on record.

The average price of property climbed by 2.1%, or 6,733 pounds ($4,476) between March 7 and April 10 to a national average of GBP327,797, Rightmove said. This beat the previous record high, set in October last year, by more than GBP4,000.

Properties were selling in the first two weeks of April at the fastest pace Rightmove has recorded, taking an average of just 45 days to be marked as sold.

"This is only the second time over the past five years that prices have increased by over 2% in a month, so it's a big jump, especially bearing in mind that the lockdown restrictions are still limiting the population's movements and activities," Tim Bannister, Rightmove's director of property data, said.

While the housing market was suspended a year earlier, the number of sales agreed to in March were up 55% compared with the same month of 2019.

Meanwhile, the proportion of available stock to demand has fallen to the lowest level on record as the number of properties coming to market in March was just 3% higher the same month of 2019.

"Some of the froth is likely to come off this spring surge later in the year as the challenging economic conditions come to the fore, some of the government support to individuals and businesses unwinds, and the stamp duty holidays finally end in England and Wales," the company said.

Rightmove said it still expects activity to remain robust for the rest of 2021.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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