February figures from property portal Rightmove reveal the highest monthly increase in UK asking prices in two decades.

The advertised cost of a home was up by 2.3% on last month and up by 9.5% on a year ago.

A spokesperson for Rightmove said: “This new record means that average asking prices have now risen by nearly £40,000 in the two years since the pandemic started, compared to just over £9,000 in the previous two years.”

Demand continues to grow, according to Rightmove, with a 16% increase in the number of people looking to buy a property. Figures also reveal a widening gap between buyers and available properties. This means prices are likely to continue to rise, above annual salary increases, adding to the squeeze on personal finances. There are also fears of bidding wars and gazumping in the most sought-after areas.

According to Rightmove, prices are being driven up by wealthy buyers who saved money during lockdown, many of whom are experiencing “fear of missing out” of the current property boom.

People looking to return to cities, or within an easy commute, are also driving the increase says the portal. London saw the UK’s biggest annual increase in buyer enquires to estate agents – up by nearly a quarter in a year – along with its highest annual rate of price growth in five years.

Recent figures from lender the Nationwide revealed prices were up by 11% in January on a year ago with property transactions at their highest since 2007, and 25% above their 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Read more about this story in The Guardian.