LONDON (Reuters) – Advertised prices for homes in Britain hit a record high after finance minister Rishi Sunak stoked the market again by extending a tax cut for home-buyers last month, property website Rightmove said on Monday.
Asking prices jumped by 2.1% in the five weeks to April 10, only the second time in five years that prices have risen by more than 2% from one month to the next, Rightmove said.
The rise took the average price of property coming to market to an all-time high of 327,797 pounds ($451,737) and homes were selling in record-fast time, it said.
On March 3 Sunak said he would extend a temporary tax break for buyers and he also announced a new mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers who cannot afford large deposits.
The tax break was rushed out in 2020 to counter the economic hit from coronavirus. It helped to fuel a mini-boom in the housing market which was already seeing strong demand from people seeking more space after their first lockdown.
Other measures of British house prices have also shown a rise since Sunak’s announcement.
Rightmove said its measure of available properties was at a record low.
“However 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,” it said.
“Nevertheless we expect activity to remain robust for the rest of 2021.”
($1 = 0.7256 pounds)
(Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)