The number of properties sold subject to contract (STC) was at its highest since 2015 for this point in the year, helped by “improved affordability and a desire to strike a deal before Brexit”, Rightmove said.
The national figure was helped by STCs rising more than 10 per cent in the North East, East of England, and Yorkshire & the Humber.
The national average asking price fell by one per cent in August against July 2019 and this compared to the same measure last year falling by 2.3 per cent.
This year’s lively performance pushed the annual rate of increase in property prices to 1.2 per cent.
In high activity areas the North East, East of England and Yorkshire & the Humber, the prices fell from July to August by 0.3 per cent, 0.6 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.
The national average asking prices fell month-on-month for first-time buyers by 0.2 per cent, for second-steppers by 0.8 per cent and for top tier buyers by 1.5 per cent.
More sales agreed, fewer completions
Despite the rise in sales activity, the number of properties held STC with sales not completed was at its highest since June 2014.
“Only for so long can buyers and sellers delay the familial, financial and emotional forces driving their need to move. The average time between agreeing a sale and moving is more than three months. We are now entering last chance saloon to finish a move before the end of the year,” said Miles Shipside, property expert at Rightmove (pictured).
“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 nothing new for prospective buyers, this one may seem more definite and one to beat. Buyers are going for the certainty of a deal, perhaps having hesitated earlier in the year,” Shipside added.