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Time’s running out if you want to move house by Christmas

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People who want to move house by Christmas should be active in the market now, according to Rightmove.

With 18 weeks until Christmas, buyers are cutting it fine if they want to be in their new property by 25 December.

The average time for agreeing a sale to moving in is 13 weeks, so prospective buyers should act now and make sure they have necessary finances in place, the property website said.

People who need to sell first have even less time to play with as finding a buyer adds an average of eight weeks to the process.

New sellers should note that buyers have more choice this month compared to last, with total available stock 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.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “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.”

Asking prices fall

Figures from Rightmove show average asking prices of newly-marketed property fell 2.3% in August, as new sellers launch a ‘late summer sale’ to try and find a buyer more quickly. This is compared to a 2.1% drop in the same month last year.

Estate agent Connells said it had re-launched 5,000 properties with substantial reductions since the start of the summer – selling 30% of them.

“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,” said Shipside.

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