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The average UK property takes 96 days to sell

Monday 20 November 2017

House sellers can expect their property to take just over three months to sell according to the latest report from Post Office Money.

The City Rate of Sale report, developed with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), examined the average time it takes to flog a property in 23 locations across the UK - and sellers in Scotland came out on top.

Homes in Edinburgh and Glasgow spent just 41 and 50 days respectively on the market, compared to their South Westerly counterparts which saw residences in Liverpool and Belfast typically taking over 100 days to sell.

The data showed that Edinburgh and Stoke-on-Trent had seen the biggest fall in the time spent on the market, despite being at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of house price growth.

Edinburgh's housing market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, with a lack of new buildings resulting in quicker sales and inflated costs. Edinburgh has seen an annual price rise of 10.4 per cent over the past year, compared to 3.9 per cent annual growth for Scotland as a whole.

Property values in Stoke-on-Trent however, increased by only 0.9 per cent over the last year - the smallest increase of any major city in the UK. Whilst a hotspot for first-time buyers, stimulating a need for housing priced under the £250,000 mark, Stoke-On-Trent has seen a decline in demand for properties at the upper end of the market. 

Overall, Bristol topped the league table of cities in England for the fastest sales, with an average selling time of 61 days, followed by Stoke-on-Trent (70 days) and Manchester (71 days). London, Liverpool and Belfast trailed behind, taking 111, 112, and 119 days respectively to sell a property.

Southend and Portsmouth saw the sharpest increase in the typical time spent on the market, with Southend reporting a 12 per cent increase and Portsmouth a 10 per cent increase. In part this reflects the lack of affordability, as both areas have seen a higher increase in house price values than is normal for their respective regions.

On the whole, house prices have risen in each of the cities analysed in the report over the last year, with the average price of a home in the UK rising by 5.0 per cent in the year to August 2017. However, both house price growth and sales volumes have generally slowed, suggesting a ‘tipping point’ where growth has left many areas unaffordable for the average buyer. This could mean delays for the 11 per cent of current homeowners who want to move up the ladder in the near future.

Owen Woodley, Managing Director, Post Office Money said:

“Against a backdrop of muted but steady increases in house prices across the country and sustained demand from the first time buyer market, these movements in time to sell reflect the changes in the number of properties listed for sale in cities across the UK. We know from previous research that first time buyers are taking a flexible approach to finding an affordable home, most especially towards location. Second Steppers in contrast, have less flexibility as they are specifically looking to move to a new area (39 per cent) or a bigger property (35 per cent).

“Therefore, on the whole across the UK, the number of houses on the market has fallen because those looking to trade up are struggling to find good properties at acceptable prices. This is likely to become a growing issue as buyers are more likely to wait out the current market until price growth returns more forcefully.”

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark commented:

“Selling a property is one of the most stressful things you can do, no matter whether you’re a first-time-buyer, second-time-buyer or tenth-time-buyer. Going through the process can sometimes feel like having a second job, and can be a real strain – especially if you’ve found your dream property and are holding up a chain. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ time to market your property in order to secure a quick sale. You should work with an estate agent you trust, to get the property on the market at the right price as soon as you’re ready in order to maximise your chances of a stress-free and speedy sale.”