August Overview

This month’s 2.3% (-£7,218) fall in new seller asking prices maintains the historical trend of sellers coming to market in the peak summer holiday month pricing aggressively to try and secure quicker sales. The 2.3% drop is slightly bigger than the 2.1% fall in August 2017, with the major drag on the national average being the more subdued market in London and the commuter-belt region of the South East. If those two regions are excluded then the rest of the country has a monthly drop of 1.5%.

A look at the year-on-year figures show that new seller asking prices are muted at 1.1% higher than a year ago, which helps buyer affordability. Sales agreed numbers are broadly flat, down by 0.8% compared to this time last year, and as 2018 progresses they are improving compared to their position earlier in the year.

Any new sellers who want to find a buyer quickly, perhaps with a pre-Christmas move in mind, should note that buyers have more choice this month compared to last, with total available stock being up 2.1%. One outcome is that the average time to sell between first marketing on Rightmove and being marked as sale agreed has increased by 3% to just over eight weeks. Once a sale has been agreed both sellers and buyers should note that it then takes an average of 13 weeks to complete the legal transaction. With 18 weeks until Christmas, prospective buyers who have not yet found anywhere to buy therefore by the law of averages still have a few weeks left. However, anyone that has to sell before they can buy will either need to find a buyer much more quickly than the average eight weeks, or be faced with achieving a tighter than usual timescale to legal completion.

Emily Evans