The average price of property coming to market rose by 0.5% in February, equating to £1,522, according to data from Rightmove.

This is after three consecutive months of average prices declining.

Rightmove outlined that this because of a shortage of supply with fewer new sellers coming to market, as well as increased demand.

A question of cost control

The data also revealed that one in five buyers who agreed a purchase in July last year have still not completed more than six months later, with an estimated 100,000 buyers in total still likely to miss out on their expected tax saving due to the stamp duty holiday.

This is double the proportion of the previous year, when only one in 10 purchases that were agreed in July 2019 were still waiting to complete at this time last year.

However, the number of new buyers continues to grow, despite it now being too late for most to beat stamp duty deadline.

Looking to the first week of February 2020 and 2021, Rightmove noted visits up 45%, with keen home-hunters sending 18% more enquiries, and the number of purchases agreed up by 7%.

Furthermore, the number of new sellers coming to market is 21% down over the last four weeks when compared with the prior year.

In addition, the data showed that the ‘second-stepper’ and ‘top of the ladder’ have seen 25% fewer new listings between them.

Meanwhile, properties with two bedrooms or fewer are only down by 16%.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Last year the market was unexpectedly buoyed by buyers’ determination to move and satisfy their new lockdown-induced housing needs.

“We may well be seeing a continuation of that this year. Rightmove’s early 2021 buyer data shows that despite the imminent end of the stamp duty incentive, all of the key buyer metrics are ahead of early 2020, itself an active period as the market was boosted by the post-election ‘Boris bounce’.

“As well as the current lockdown motivating buyer demand again, the restrictions have also been a factor in limiting new supply, leading to some modest upwards price pressure.

“These are strong signs that new buyer demand is not facing a cliff-edge after 31 March.

“It remains to be seen if this momentum will be enough to make up for the removal of the stamp duty savings that are benefitting many buyers and have been adding a sense of urgency to the whole market.

“So far in 2021, home-schooling has taken priority over home-selling for some people.

“Family properties are suffering most, with the difficulty of preparing a property for marketing and viewings while it’s in use and occupied 24/7 by the whole family likely to give you cause to delay.

“Ironically, whilst it’s too late for the stamp duty holiday, there are good reasons to come to market now, especially if selling a property suitable for a family.

“There are more possible buyers looking and fewer suitable alternatives to divert their attention away from yours.

“An early start to the selling process will also help to get you sold, moved, and settled in before the new school year.

“With the current speed of the vaccine roll-out, that new school year will hopefully be spent in schools and out of the home, but many of the other new needs for more space both indoors and out will remain.”