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Buyers rush to move before Brexit with 'summer surge' in property sales

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
St Ives, which has seen its property prices soar in recent decades as a popular destination for second-home owners. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Summer property sales are at a four-year high in Britain as buyers rush to move before the Brexit deadline, according to property site Rightmove.

Miles Shipside, a Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said a “summer surge” was clear as buyers increasingly saw the 31 October deadline for Brexit as “one to beat” in case it hit the market.

He said buyers were going “bolder and earlier” than usual at a typically quiet time of year, leaving asking prices 1.2% higher than a year ago.

The number of summer sales was up 6.1% on a year ago and the highest since 2015, the property site’s figures suggest.

READ MORE: CBI chief warns Britain can never be ready for a no-deal Brexit

Asking prices still slipped 1% lower between July and August, but it marked a significantly smaller increase than the 2.3% drop at the same time last year.

The average asking price in the UK is now £305,500 ($367,901), according to Rightmove, down from £308,700 a month ago.

“We often see an autumn activity bounce, but perhaps this year’s political activities have brought that forward into a summer surge as buyers have gone bolder and earlier than usual,” said Shipside.

“Surprisingly there seems to be a bit of a summer buying spree, despite it normally being a quieter time of year.

“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’.”

READ MORE: What a no-deal Brexit means for house prices

He added that buyers appeared to have “cottoned on” to the fact it can be a good time of year to buy, with less competition and sellers often willing to accept lower prices.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), a government watchdog, warned in July property prices could slide 10% on a no-deal Brexit, which would send shockwaves through the UK economy.

The Bank of England said last year a worst-case scenario could see the market crash further as Brexit batters UK firms and workers, with prices sliding 30%.

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