Date Published 20 August 2018
Home-movers who want to move in by the traditional Christmas deadline, now only 18 weeks away, need to act now to do so, Rightmove has warned.
The average time from agreeing a sale to moving in is 13 weeks so prospective buyers should be active in the market right now and make sure they have necessary finances in place.
For new-to-the-market sellers, finding a buyer adds on an average of eight weeks so they will need to find a buyer quicker than the average if they want to move in before Christmas.
Rightmove notes that buyers have more choice this month compared to last, with total available stock being up 2.1%.
Additionally, the average asking prices of newly-marketed property saw a seasonal drop of 2.3% this month, as new sellers launch a ‘late summer sale' to try and find a buyer more quickly.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, commented: 'Sellers who come to market in the peak holiday month often have a pressing need to sell and price down accordingly, and are offering ‘summer sale' prices to entice holiday-distracted buyers. The market started its most recent cyclical price upturn in 2010, and since then the average price of property coming to market has gone up by 32%, stretching buyer affordability. More substantial discounts are therefore required to tempt warier buyers, with higher house prices also tightening the purse strings of lenders. With lacklustre average wage growth, more buyers are bumping up against the tighter lending criteria brought in four years ago following the Mortgage Market Review, which were intended to prevent another boom-and-bust cycle.
'The ‘beast from the east' weather was a factor in sales agreed numbers being down by 5.4% year-to-date when we reported back in May, but they are on an upward trajectory and are now 3.5% down year-to-date. Overall in spite of political uncertainty sales agreed are holding pretty steady and it is usual for there to be an upturn in prices and buyer activity as we head into the Autumn season, especially if sellers maintain their cheaper pricing to attract buyers.
"The key measures affecting the chances of a successful sale all indicate a higher degree of difficulty, so for a seller to increase their odds and beat the average timescales they need to be more pro-active than other sellers. New sellers who are motivated by the 18-week Christmas deadline therefore need to agree a sale to a buyer much more quickly than the average eight weeks that it takes, and perhaps also compress the average 13 weeks between agreeing a sale to a buyer and moving in. That's a nail-biting total of 21 weeks that they need to try and cut down. Sellers and their agents who are pricing very attractively in order to beat the averages should also ensure that both the seller and equally importantly their buyer have the necessary financial and legal preparation in place. Lack of up-front preparation leads to mortgage or cash availability hold-ups, and failure to get legally required documents ready in anticipation of a sale can add weeks. Sale-ready sellers and the correct choice of a well – prepared buyer with a short or sound chain can still bring the turkey to the table in your new home in time for Christmas.'