Rightmove data has revealed a rise of just £2,129 in the average asking price of flats across Great Britain since February 2020 before the pandemic started.
The average asking price for a flat was found to currently stand at £277,302, an increase of just 1% since the start of the pandemic, when prices were £275,173.
Meanwhile the average asking price of a detached home jumped by 10% over the same time period – now standing at £517,180, compared to £471,406 in February 2020.
However, the number of sales agreed for flats was up by 14% in June and July this year compared to June and July 2020, and up by 24% on June and July 2019.
Rightmove said this has likely been driven by lockdown restrictions easing, medium to long-term working patterns becoming clearer, and better availability of low deposit mortgages.
The number of sales agreed for detached homes, meanwhile, was down by 20% compared to June and July 2020, though still up by 7% on June and July 2019.
Rightmove said the lack of available stock and ongoing high demand will likely continue to underpin prices in this bigger home sector.
The percentage of flats on Rightmove that are available for sale, not marked as under offer or sold, has dropped from 77% in June and July 2020 to 56% in June and July 2021.
The percentage of detached homes available for sale was down from 73% in June last year to 41% available in June and July 2021.
The cheapest area to get on the property ladder was found to be the North East, with average asking prices for flats at £103,098, while the most expensive area outside London was the South East, where average asking prices for flats are £235,073.
The average asking price for a flat in London is £534,054 – a drop of 2% since before the pandemic in February 2020.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Navigating a busy market can be daunting for buyers, especially if they’re looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time.
“However, the latest data might suggest an opportunity for some first-time buyers, with average asking prices for flats currently up by 1%, which is significantly less than the price increases we’ve seen for other property types.
“In the first few months of the housing markets reopening across Great Britain last year flats were temporarily out of favour as people sought bigger homes with more space further out, but we’re now seeing this trend start to shift back again.
“This means it could be a good time for those first-time buyers who would like to buy a flat to see what’s available before prices start to rise further, as the majority will benefit from being exempt from stamp duty and, although activity is increasing, there’s still less competition among buyers for flats than for houses right now.
“The sharp rise in average asking prices for detached homes probably comes as no surprise to those who have been following the rush for room that emerged when the market reopened, and with available stock still limited and strong demand continuing, we’re unlikely to see prices fall for this property type anytime soon.”