<makes note never to look at Scottish job ads>
Wrong mindset. The Scottish idea that a contract is a contract (so, for example, no gazumping) is really a strong positive compared to the slippery crap that happens south of the border.
However, I agree that bidding wars are unpleasant. - DvF
I'd also take the Scottish system over the English. When we bought our first property, the market was crazy. We paid 30% over the offers over price, but it was still a good purchase and made us a handsome profit when we sold. A property's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
In my experience, bidding wars tend not to happen in Scotland (in the sense that someone puts an offer, someone else betters that and so on...). Everyone puts their best offer in, without the knowledge of what others have offered, and crosses their fingers. Normally (although not always) the vendor accepts the best price and that's it--if you didn't win, you move on.
Anyway, I would agree that an 'offers over'price in England does not preclude you from putting an offer in below that.