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Properties taking longer to sell than a year ago

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Properties are now taking six days longer to sell than this time last year, according to new research.

The report, developed for Post Office Money by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), analysed sales periods of 35 UK towns and cities, and found that the average time taken for a property to sell is now 102 days - up from 96 days in 2017.

The research found homeowners in Scottish cities Edinburgh and Glasgow are likely to see their homes sell the fastest, spending 39 and 48 days on the market respectively. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, sellers in London are having to wait much longer than the national average, with properties in the capital taking around 126 days to sell, and Blackpool taking the longest at an average of 131 days.

The report suggests this increase is due to homes being relatively unaffordable in these areas, causing them to spend longer sitting on the market.

Affordability hotspots, Belfast and Swansea recorded the biggest fall in the time properties spend on the market, at 17 and 14 days less respectively than last year. And in contrast, properties in Bristol are taking 10 days longer to sell than last year, with Luton taking an additional two weeks longer to sell than in 2017.

Ross Hunter, a spokesperson for Post Office Money, said: “Properties are taking slightly longer to sell but this doesn’t mean that interest in moving up the housing ladder is waning. First-time buyers have actually increased by 12 per cent across the market in the last year alone, encouraged by the reduction made to stamp duty costs and mortgage innovation.

“We also know that housing supply has increased significantly - the number of homes completed in 2018’s second quarter was up seven per cent in England, compared to the previous quarter, so there are more properties available to choose from for prospective buyers.”

Last December, we responded to the Governments consultation on improving the home buying and selling process, making recommendations to try and speed up the conveyancing process. As well as proposing the Government provide clearer guidance for consumers around subjects such as referral fees and searches, we also suggested the introduction of a digital conveyancing process will deliver a more streamlined, faster and cost effective process for home buyers and sellers as well as for agents. 

This was echoed in our response to the Geospatial Commission's call for evidence earlier this month, which was aimed at gathering feedback on how geographical data analysis could support the property sector.