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Property sales up 6.1% in 'summer buying spree'

Property sales up 6.1% in 'summer buying spree'

The UK housing market performed better in the month to August 10 than it did last year amid signs of a "summer buying spree", according to the latest data from Rightmove.

The property site’s house price index, out today (August 19), showed the average price of a property coming to the market was up 1.2 per cent year-on-year — despite experiencing a monthly drop of 1 per cent between July 7 and August 10 — and now sat at £305,500.

On top of this, the average asking price for property had increased across all market sectors, according to the index, with first-time buyer properties up 0.8 per cent, second-steppers 1 per cent and ‘top of the ladder’ prices up 1.4 per cent.

Buyers also seemed to experience a ‘pre-Brexit spree’ as the number of sales agreed was up by 6.1 per cent and sat at the highest number for the summer since 2015.

This was true across all regions, with North East, East of England and Yorkshire and Humber leading the country with annual rises of more than 10 per cent.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Surprisingly, there seems to be a bit of a summer buying spree, despite it normally being a quieter time of year. 

“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.”

Mr Shipside added this could be down to the fact the October Brexit deadline seemed “more definite” and therefore “one to beat”, so buyers were buying for the certainty of doing a deal rather than hesitating as they would have done earlier in the year.

In terms of property prices, Yorkshire and Humber and Wales were the only regions to experience a monthly increase — 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively — while the South East and the South West were the only two spots to experience a yearly drop.

London saw an annual increase in house prices for the first time in two years, according to Rightmove’s data which showed the average price now say at £617,208 — 1.3 per cent up on August last year.

Southwark saw the greatest increase, up 2 per cent, while Merton, the worst performing borough, dropped by a significant 7 per cent.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Although based on asking prices, the Rightmove numbers always prove a useful and more up-to-date indicator of market strengths than some other surveys, with the sales agreed numbers always particularly interesting. 

“The figures confirm what we are seeing at the coalface — while caution and uncertainty remain in some quarters, demand cannot remain pent-up indefinitely. 

“Buyers are looking beyond Brexit and taking advantage of improving affordability, softening prices and greater realism among sellers. “

Kevin Roberts, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said the property market remained resilient despite a summer slowdown and Brexit while Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the market was in a “more positive position” than many had expected for this time in the year.