How long does the average UK property take to sell?

Warren Lewis
17th November 2017
time house

According to new data from Post Office Money, properties in Edinburgh and Glasgow sell fastest – an average of 41 and 50 days, with Liverpool and Belfast taking the longest time, despite being affordability hotspots for first-time buyers.

The research developed with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), found that on average, UK property takes 96 days to sell.

According to the findings, cities to the West of the UK were more likely to see a longer wait, with residences in Liverpool and Belfast typically taking over 100 days (112 and 119 respectively) to sell. When properties have been on the market longer, buyers can potentially negotiate a better deal, particularly in areas like Liverpool where 87% of properties for sale are affordable to first-time buyers.
Owen Woodley, Managing Director, Post Office Money comments: “Against a backdrop of muted but steady increases in house prices across the country and sustained demand from the FTB 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%) or a bigger property (35%).
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.”

Edinburgh and Stoke on Trent have seen the biggest fall in the time properties spend on the market – despite the fact that they are opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of house price growth.
The Edinburgh housing market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and a lack of new buildings is responsible for the fall in time on market and increase in prices. Edinburgh has also seen prices rise by 10.4% over the past year, well above the 3.9% growth for Scotland as a whole.
Stoke-On-Trent, meanwhile, is a hotspot for FTBs; this has stimulated demand for houses priced under £250,000 and reduced the time on the market. However, competition has not increased so much for more expensive properties, as a number of newly built properties in the area have increased supply, this has placed downward pressure on prices. Homes in Stoke-on-Trent increased by only 0.9% in value, the smallest increase of any major city in the UK.
In contrast, southern cities Southend and Portsmouth have seen the sharpest increase in the typical time that properties have spent on the market with Southend seeing a 12% increase and Portsmouth, a 10% increase. In part, this reflects the fact that both cities are becoming less affordable as they have both seen a higher increase in house price values than is normal for their respective regions.
House prices have risen in each of the cities analysed in this report over the last year, with the average price of a home in the UK rising by 5.0% in the year to August 2017. However, overall both house price growth and sales volumes have decelerated suggesting we have reached a ‘tipping point’ where growth has left many areas unaffordable for the average buyer. This could see delays for the 11% of current homeowners who want to move up the ladder in the near future.
Owen Woodley, Managing Director, Post Office Money continues: “City Rate of Sale data can be a useful indicator of momentum in a local property market and buyers can use this insight to help plan for their next move. If a sale moves faster, or takes longer than planned, buyers can face unexpected costs. This is why we’ve created some top tips for buyers to help them prepare and plan ahead for any unforeseen costs so they’re not caught short.”

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