Buyers must be ready with their finances in order if they are to beat rising house prices, warn conveyancing solicitors at Coles Miller.
Property shortages are driving up prices ever more quickly as more buyers compete for a limited number of available homes.
Coles Miller conveyancing Partner Jason Barnett said: “It’s really busy at the moment. Prices are quite clearly going up.
“The estate agents are concerned that there are not enough properties coming on to the market.
“We are not seeing many sales fall through but when they do, the properties quickly come back on the market with the prices a few thousand pounds higher.
“This is yet another classic sign of a sellers’ market,” he added.
Speed is vital if purchasers are to avoid missing out on their dream home or - in the case of first time buyers - securing a place on the property ladder.
First time buyers or those trading up must be able to move as quickly as possible before rising prices put their target property out of reach.
“It pays to get expert legal advice to help speed up the process,” said Mr Barnett.
His comments follow latest data from the Office for National Statistics which shows a 6.8 per cent rise in house prices across the UK.
The figures for the 12 months ended January 2014 suggest an acceleration compared with the previous month.
London prices - which rose by 13.2 per cent over the 12-month period - are forcing up the average. UK prices with the capital and the South East stripped out increased by an average 3.8 per cent.
Mr Barnett said: “Mortgages are becoming easier to obtain now and the Help to Buy scheme is fuelling the market as well. Interest rates could rise.”
British Bankers’ Association (BBA) data shows that gross mortgage borrowing across the UK totalled £11.5 billion in February - a rise of 47 per cent compared with the same month last year.
There are also concerns that Chancellor George Osborne’s overhaul of pensions in the 2014 Budget could further exacerbate what some see as overheating in the property market.
By no longer forcing pensioners to buy an annuity, the Chancellor has enabled them to channel their savings into buy to let property instead.
This has raised concerns that pension savings could flood into the buy to let market - pushing up prices still further to the detriment of first time buyers.
Mr Barnett said: “Over the long term this could be the way it will go but we have yet to see any signs of it at present.”
Dorset-based Coles Miller has five offices in Bournemouth, Poole, Broadstone, Charminster and Wimborne.
The firm has one of the leading conveyancing practices in the Bournemouth and Poole area. Its experienced solicitors have helped thousands of families to move house.
For expert legal advice on buying and selling property, contact Coles Miller Solicitors Partner Jason Barnett, 01202 293226.