Boost in house sales as buyers look to beat Brexit deadline

19 August 2019

Home buyers have been on a pre-Brexit spree with sales agreed up by 6.1%, Rightmove figures suggest

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The housing market has received a surprise boost with sales rising as buyers look to secure a deal before the Brexit deadline.

The number of sales being agreed is up by 6.1% in August compared to the same month a year ago, according to property website Rightmove.

This is highest number of sales agreed at this time of year since the same period in 2015 and reverses the general trend seen since Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, says the figures suggest buyers are looking to complete deals before the Brexit deadline at the end of October.

He says: “Whilst another approaching Brexit deadline is now nothing new for prospective buyers, this one may seem more definite, and therefore one to beat, with the government regarding this one as ‘do or die’.

“While the end of October Brexit outcome remains uncertain, more buyers are now going for the certainty of doing a deal, with some having perhaps hesitated earlier in the year.”

The government has said it is operating on the assumption that it will leave the EU with no Brexit deal if an agreement has not been struck with Brussels.

Rightmove says the price of property coming to market fell by 1.0% or £3,192 in August. This took the average price of a property down to £305,500, the lowest since April

The annual rate of increase was 1.2%.

Prices typically dip in August as new-to-the-market sellers at this time of year tend to have a more pressing need to sell, and price more cheaply to attract holiday-distracted buyers.

Mr Shipside says the market has also been boosted by lenders cutting mortgages and sellers lowering price expectations.

He says: “There’s only so long that buyers and sellers can delay the familial, financial and emotional forces driving the need to move, and with the average time between agreeing a sale and moving in being more than three months, we’re now entering the last chance saloon for those who want to have finished their move before the end of the year.”

Regional trends

Most regions were hit by price falls, with only Wales and Yorkshire and Humber showing signs of monthly growth.

The housing market has slowed dramatically in recent months, with experts blaming Brexit uncertainty as buyers hold off making a decision to buy a home

The South East recorded the biggest monthly price fall at 2.1%, with annual prices dropping 0.3%.

Asking prices in the capital are down by 0.1% on the previous month and 1.3% over the past year.

Yorkshire and Humber recorded the biggest monthly price rise at 0.7% to an average price of £195,380, followed by Wales where prices rose by 0.3% to £201,221.

Glynis Frew, the chief executive of estate agent of Hunters, says: “Many vendors at this moment in time seem happy to demand slightly lower asking prices if it means they can get the deal out the door as quickly as possible in light of the ongoing Brexit uncertainty, with buyers correspondingly capitalising on the newfound affordability that creates.” 

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Source: Rightmove, 19 August 2019

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