New records in asking prices have been hit, Rightmove has reported

The average asking price of a property new to the market is now £262,594 – up 2.6% on last month and up 7.3% on last year.

Although the average asking price is the highest ever, the rise is being driven by London and throughout the south.

In all these regions, asking prices are higher than before the credit crunch.

In London, asking prices are 41.8% higher than in October 2007, in the south-east 8.4% higher, in the south-west 4.1% higher and in East Anglia 2.4% higher.

However, in all other regions – Wales, midlands and the north – prices are still lower than in October 2007. In the north-west they are 8.8% lower and in Wales 7.4% lower.

Rightmove also reports that so far this year there has been 13% rise in the number of properties coming on to the market. But there are marked stock shortages throughout the south.

Director Miles Shipside said: “Supply in much of the south is ridiculously tight, with For Sale board blackspots in many popular locations within easy commuting distance of London.

“There are vicious circles where there is so little property for sale that few local home owners are willing to come to market.”

The new asking price on Rightmove is in marked contrast to last week’s Halifax report which showed that house prices fell 1.1% in March.

According to Halifax, the drop of 1.1% took average UK prices down to £178,249.

However, the lender said that was up 8.7% on a year ago and it meant that house prices in the first quarter of this year were 2.3% up on the final quarter of last year.

The fall was only the third monthly decline in the last 15 months.

The Halifax price for March is close to that of Nationwide, which puts the average at £180,264.

Separately, Knight Frank has reported that the prices of prime country houses increased by 1.9% in the first quarter of this year, with viewings 16% up on last year.

But it says that buyers are favouring “prime” urban homes in places such as Winchester and Bath rather than those in the country.