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The average prices sellers are asking for UK houses are just £30 below their all-time highs and could breach that peak soon as a lack of choice for buyers adds to the upward pressure on values, according to Rightmove.

And as people aged 55 and over prepare to get their hands on their pension pots from next month as a result of new freedoms introduced by the Government, the property website said that a rise in retirees looking to snap up buy-to-let properties could drive house prices higher.

The average new seller asking price across England and Wales was £281,752 in March, which is 1 per cent higher than the previous month and £30 below an all-time high recorded in June last year, Rightmove said.