Brexit Deadline Catalysts for a Buying Spree in the Housing Market

The summer market showed to be an active time for buyers undeterred by the impending Brexit deadline, Rightmove data has revealed.

The number of sales agreed are up by 6.1% compared with the same month a year ago, making up for the leisurely start to the year, with buyers encouraged into action by improved affordability and better chances for securing a deal.

Miles Shipside, a Rightmove property expert said: “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’.”

“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.”

One of the hurdles that buyers encounter after having agreed a purchase is a delay in turning that agreement to legal completion and actually moving in. The number of properties that are sold subject to contract and linger in the legal process is at its highest level since June 2014.

Buyers have been biding their time as all still remains uncertain whether the UK will be leaving the EU with or without a deal. In the latter case, house prices could nose-dive by almost 6 percent in 2020 and another 3 percent in 2021, according to forecasts given by the government’s spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.

However, the more self-assured buyers are now deserting the ‘wait and see’ method and taking advantage of improved housing affordability as the Brexit deadline nears, Ms. Frew said, commenting on findings from Rightmove. The typical asking price in the UK was £305,500 in August – the lowest since April, Rightmove figures showed. Although it was higher than a year ago, the 1.2 percent annual rise is still behind inflation, which is running at 2.1 percent, according to the recent official data.

“There is little doubt that the market continues to face its inevitable challenges,” said Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters estate agency.