A CHESHIRE town is among the top 10 property price hotspots, with sellers' asking prices up by 11.6% annually on average.

Seven out of the top 10 highest risers are in the North West of England, according to Rightmove's study across Britain, including Sandbach, ranked in seventh.

Wallasey in Wirral has been ranked in the top spot.

Rightmove said asking prices in Wallasey are nearly £24,000 higher than a year ago. Throughout March and April, one in three properties in the town sold within a week, according to Rightmove's data taken from its website.

Nationally, asking prices are at a record high of £327,797, an annual rise of 5.1% on average. Nearly a quarter (23%) of properties are selling within a week across Britain - the highest proportion Rightmove has recorded.

Leigh in Greater Manchester was second on the list, with asking prices up by 12.8%, followed by Penzance in Cornwall where asking prices have increased by 12.5%.

Cornwall recently replaced London as the most searched place on Rightmove.

A new survey by the website among estate agents found nearly half (46%) are asking that a buyer has already had an offer accepted on their home if they want to physically view a property, and just over a third (37%) are asking that a buyer at least has their property already on the market.

For first-time buyers, many agents are asking that they first have a mortgage in principle before they can view a property, Rightmove said.

It warned those home owners who want to try to find somewhere to move to before putting their home on the market will find it much harder to book viewings in the current busy market.

Rightmove property expert Tim Bannister said: "The average asking prices of all locations in the price hotspot list are below the national average, and I'd expect them to see strong price growth continue for the rest of the year, especially as many buyers will be exempt from stamp duty in these areas right up until the end of September.

"The frenetic market opens up a very real possibility that you could miss out on the home you really want to move to if you haven't already put your own up for sale, or if you're a first-time buyer and you haven't first researched what you can definitely afford.

"We recently found that a much higher proportion of chain-free homes are up for sale, so it's clear some buyers are already choosing to sell first and buy next rather than tie themselves into a chain.

"To put yourself in the best possible position before you request a viewing I'd recommend getting a mortgage in principle ready, and being clear on what the final asking price you can offer is if it is a hot market where the property is likely to go to best and final offers.

"Agents are telling me that because stock is so few and far between they're advising home owners to first get an offer accepted on their own home, and they're finding that many buyers are more willing to then give owners a bit more time to find their next place to move to before the chain can get moving."

Here are the top property hotspots according to Rightmove, with the average asking price in March and the annual increase:

- 1. Wallasey, Merseyside, £176,707, 15.6%

- 2. Leigh, Greater Manchester, £160,345, 12.8%

-3. Penzance, Cornwall, £280,102, 12.5%

- 4. Birkenhead, Merseyside, £145,437, 12.4%

- 5. Wednesbury, West Midlands, £172,753, 12.2%

- 6. Lancaster, Lancashire, £199,707, 11.8%

- 7. Sandbach, Cheshire, £280,888, 11.6%

- 8. Rossendale, Lancashire, £207,618, 11.4%

- 9. Oldham, Greater Manchester, £174,925, 11.3%

- 10. Burntwood, Staffordshire, £254,418, 11.2%