UK house prices hit a record high yet again in August, rising to an average of £235,000 ($322,270), according to Zoopla's monthly House Price Index (HPI).
Average annual house price growth increased by 6.1% in August — over double the rate of growth compared to a year before.
While the stamp duty holiday for England and Northern Ireland, introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will come to an end following the tapered period at the end of September, demand and activity is going strong.
With the time between listing a property and agreeing a sale consistently averaging under 30 days each month since May, the market is moving at its fasted pace for the past five years. The time taken to sell would usually clock in above 40 days at this time of year, according to Zoopla.
Buyer demand is also 35% higher than average levels recorded over the last five years.
Zoopla said that the the "search for space" is a significant factor driving the market, as Buyers look for properties conducive to working from home and more green space, having spent more time at home during the pandemic.
In London, buyer demand is also up by 14% over the past month, driven by a return to office life.
There is still an "acute stock shortage," according to Zoopla, but the number of properties listed for sale that were previously available for rent has increased to 8% across the UK — up from 3% two years ago. This reaches 13% in London.
London saw a 2.2% rise in house price growth, while Liverpool was the highest amongst the UK’s major cities, with average prices up almost 10% in the 12 months to September.
On a regional level, Wales recorded the highest level of regional price growth at 9.8%, followed by Northern Ireland (8.4%) and the North West of England (8%).
Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said: “The ending of the ‘tapered’ stamp duty holiday has had little impact on buyer demand, which remains higher than typical levels for this time of year.
“The demand coming from buyers searching for space, and making lifestyle changes after consecutive lockdowns, has further to run.
“Balancing this however, will be the ending of government support for the economy via furlough, and more challenging economic conditions overall, which we believe will have an impact on market sentiment as we move through Q4.
“We expect the market to remain busy compared to historical norms, and for price growth to remain in firmly positive territory at the end of the year, although lower than current levels of 6.1%.
“Stock levels will start to rebuild in early 2022 as market activity returns to more normal levels.”