With just over 60 days left until the Brexit deadline of 31 October, property sales have swelled as buyers rush to secure a good deal before the UK leaves the EU, new data has revealed.
Quite possibly motivated by the looming Brexit deadline, the number of sales being agreed is up by an impressive 6.1% compared with the same period in 2018. In fact, all regions have seen a year-on-year increase in sales agreed. However, it’s the North East, East of England, and Yorkshire & the Humber bolstering the upward trend with each recording rises of more than 10%.
Property expert Miles Shipside, from Rightmove, which produces the monthly house price index the data was taken from, believes buyers have been spurred into action by improved affordability and better opportunities for securing a deal: “Whilst another approaching Brexit deadline is now nothing new for prospective buyers, this one may seem more definite, and therefore one to beat,” he explained. [Home buyers] have “cottoned on to the fact that it can be a good time of year to buy,” he added.
However, one of the challenges that buyers face after agreeing on a purchase is the current delay in turning that agreement into legal completion and actually moving in. The number of properties that are sold ‘subject to contract’ and stuck in the legal process log-jam is at its highest level since June 2014.
Shipman confirmed: “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.”
Shipman believes October’s approaching Brexit deadline may result in the usual autumn activity bounce being brought forward to incorporate a late-summer surge.
Ian Marriott, director at FHP Living in the East Midlands, agrees: “I think the impending Brexit deadline could well be having an impact on activity in the market. People have become frustrated; all sectors of the market are buoyant and particularly our top-of-the-ladder sector, which are £1 million properties and above, is very healthy.
“Buyers who are in the market are viewing and motivated and getting on with things – they’re doers. These people aren’t just viewing on a whim, because there isn’t as much of a selection.”
In addition, this increase in market activity has led to new seller asking prices falling by only 1.0% in the month, compared with the 2.3% fall of the same time last year, which has driven the annual rate of increase to 1.2 %, the highest since September 2018.