An increasing number of buyers are seizing an opportunity to snap up a home for a knockdown price ahead of Boris Johnson’s 31 October Brexit deadline.
The number of homes sold in the last month jumped more than six per cent, which is the highest seen over the typically sluggish summer period since 2015.
Buyers are being spurred into action as sellers become more willing to drop asking prices in a bid to secure a sale.
In the last month, the average cost of a home across Britain fell by £3,192, or one per cent, to around £305,500.
Regional shifts: House price movements on a monthly and annual basis
While the summer market appears buoyant for buyers, legal log jams pose a serious problem for both buyers and sellers.
The backlog of properties sold subject to contract, but awaiting completion, has reached the highest level for five years, Rightmove’s latest house price data shows.
Miles Shipside, a director and housing analyst at Rightmove, said: ‘It’s an anxious time for all involved once a sale has been agreed subject to contract, and that includes the estate agent whose livelihood depends on the sales going through rather than falling through.’
He adds: ‘A major factor that might help these moves to actually happen is that it seems more buyers and sellers are convinced it’s a good time financially to do a deal, plus wanting the certainty of getting the deal signed and sealed because of the next looming Brexit deadline.’
All regions have seen a higher number of sales year-on-year, with three enjoying hikes of over 10 per cent.
The number of homes sold in the North East of England, the East of England and Yorkshire & the Humber surged well over 10 per cent in the last year.
The North East and Yorkshire & the Humber are among the cheapest regions in the country to buy a home, but parts of the East of England are more expensive than areas in the London commuter belt.
Going down: In the last month, the average cost of a home has fallen by 1%
Shipside said: ‘More prospective movers are taking the plunge, getting stuck into deals with sellers more willing to lower their price expectations, and lenders wanting to lend and offering low rates.’
‘For some reason more buyers have cottoned on to the fact that it can be a good time of year to buy, with less competition from other buyers, and sellers typically more willing to accept a lower price.
‘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’.’
The South East and South West of England have seen the biggest house price drops in the last month, falling 2.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent to £401,198 and £306,935 respectively.
In Greater London, the average cost of a home has fallen by 0.1 per cent to £617,208 in the last month.
In fact, Wales and Yorkshire & the Humber were the only areas to see prices rise in the last month, seeing increases of 0.3 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively in the last month.
Prices through time: Average UK property prices over the last five years
Houses at the top of the ladder, particularly in London, have become increasingly tricky to sell in the last few years – and that picture is continuing this summer.
In the last month, the price of homes at the top of the ladder have fallen by around 1.5 per cent to £539,504.
Meanwhile, first time buyers can now expect to spend around £191,009 on their first home, which is £359 less than a month ago.
Prices for second-steppers fell by 0.8 per cent to an average of £276,109 in the last month, Rightmove’s data shows.
Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: ‘This latest report indicates that a softening of marketing prices – which is a seasonal trend and certainly no cause for concern – appears to be tempting many buyers to take action sooner rather than later.
‘Indeed, given the barrage of economic and political headlines over the past month, it’s perhaps all the more surprising to see that sales agreed have been at their highest level at this time of year for four years over the past month.’
Stamp duty shift: Sajid Javid was reportedly considering switching the stamp duty burden from buyers to sellers
As buyers and sellers watch the swings in the housing market ahead of Bexit, all eyes are on new Chancellor Sajid Javid and his future policies.
Javid was reportedly considering switching the stamp duty burden from buyers to sellers, as he considers a major shake-up of taxes ahead of his first Budget.
Javid, who moved into Downing Street at the weekend, was said to be ‘looking at various options’ when it comes to stamp duty.
Currently, stamp duty is paid by the buyer on residential properties over £125,000, and there are various bands depending on how much a property is worth.
Calling himself a ‘low tax guy’, the Chancellor told The Times: ‘I want to see simpler taxes.’
However, yesterday, he tweeted saying: ‘More speculation about stamp duty this morning.
‘To be clear I never said to @thetimes I was planning to put it on sellers, and I wouldn’t support that.
‘I know from @mhclg that we need bold measures on housing – but that isn’t one of them.’
No date has yet been set for the first Budget of the new Government.