How long does the average UK property take to sell?

How long does the average UK property take to sell?

Online estate agency Tepilo looks at the average time it takes for a UK property to sell, and how this varies considerably by location.

As a property seller, you’ll be eager to complete the process as quickly and as painlessly as possible. But how fast your sale completes could depend on where you are located in the UK.

According to the latest City Rate of Sale report from Post Office Money, the average UK property takes 96 days to sell. In 2018, customers of Online Estate Agent Emoov accepted an offer on their property in just 39 days on average.

The report, compiled in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), analyses the average time a property remains on the market in more than 20 major UK cities.

Sellers in the two biggest Scottish cities – Edinburgh and Glasgow – have the biggest reason to cheer, with homes selling in these locations in an average of 41 and 50 days respectively. By contrast, cities to the west of the UK fare less well, with sellers experiencing a longer wait to sell their properties. In Liverpool and Belfast, homes typically take more than 100 days to sell (112 and 119 respectively).

Of course, the longer a property remains on the market, the more bargaining power a buyer is likely to have – which is even more so the case in places such as Liverpool and Belfast, where affordable homes tend to be more common. In fact, according to a separate study commissioned by Post Office Money and carried out by Opinium Research, 87% of properties for sale in Liverpool are affordable for first-time buyers, with an average house price of £126,862 (August 2017).

Previous research suggests that first-time buyers are more flexible when it comes to location, willing to move to areas that are more affordable. So, wherever you happen to be selling in the UK, demand from this particular demographic is likely to be high. The recent announcement in the Budget that stamp duty will be abolished for first-time buyers purchasing homes worth up to £300,000 is only likely to increase the demand from first-time buyers.

On the other hand, second steppers – those moving from a starter home to a bigger abode for more space – tend to be less flexible as they have their eyes on a specific area or a specific type of property. They can be less likely to sacrifice on space if it means a home is more affordable, whereas first-time buyers probably won’t have such qualms.

Many second steppers, however, are having difficulty in finding suitable properties, which means they are less inclined to put their own houses up for sale. As a result, the number of homes on the market across the whole of the UK has fallen in recent times because those looking to ‘trade up’ can’t source appropriate properties at acceptable prices.

While this is good news for sellers – fewer homes on the market means sellers are put in a strong negotiating position – it’s not such good news for first-time buyers, second steppers or the fluidity of the market as a whole.

In certain locations, there has been a significant fall in the time it takes for homes to be snapped up. Edinburgh and Stoke-on-Trent lead the way when it comes to the biggest drops in the time properties spend on the market, despite these cities being worlds apart in terms of house price growth.

While house prices boom in Edinburgh – thanks to increased demand and a lack of new housing – growth has been much more modest in Stoke-on-Trent. In the past year house prices have risen by 10.4% in Edinburgh (compared to 3.9% growth for Scotland overall), but Stoke has only witnessed growth of 0.9% in the same time period, the smallest increase of any major UK city. Its status as a first-time buyer hotspot has helped properties to go quickly – with houses on sale for less than £250,000 not staying on the market for long – but more expensive properties in the area are less in demand, with an upsurge in newly built properties increasing supply and dampening house price growth.

At the other end of the spectrum, the coastal locations of Southend and Portsmouth have witnessed the sharpest rise in the average time properties spend on the market. Southend has seen a 12% increase, while Portsmouth has seen a 10% increase. This is partly reflective of the fact that both Southend and Portsmouth have become less affordable as house price values have increased higher than is normal for their respective regions.

Homes in Southend still typically sell in less than 80 days, which is also the case in Leeds, Birmingham, Plymouth, Leicester, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Manchester and Bristol. As well as Belfast and Liverpool, homes also spend more than 100 days on the market in Hull, Swansea and London.

As we know, good selling conditions are not enough on their own to sell a home. You’ll need to ensure your home is up to scratch and stands above the competition. Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive, says that – 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,” he advises.