In some areas of the UK more than 25% of properties for sale have been on the market for the whole of 2008, new figures suggest.
With the property market grinding to a halt in 2008, thanks to a lack of mortgage credit and confidence in house prices, the time it takes to sell a property has increased significantly. Sellers now outnumber buyers and those able or willing to cut their asking prices stand the best chance of being able to shift their home.
As the year draws to an end, research from property search engine Globrix shows 5% of UK properties have remained unsold since the beginning of the year. In the North of England this figure increases significantly, with the Lancashire town of Rochdale topping the list with 26% of properties still on the market since the beginning of this year.
Meanwhile, in Manchester 13% of properties remain unsold after 12 months on the market, making it the largest city to appear in the top 10. In the South of England, the seaside town of Swanage in Dorset has 20% of properties unsold.
Daniel Lee, chief executive of Globrix, says the figures reveal the extent of property stagnation in different areas of the UK.
“If interest rates are cut further and mortgage products become more competitive — and there are signs that this is happening — then who knows?” he adds. “Property prices are now very tempting and I’m sure many buyers, having delayed for so long, will be closer to making their move. The next few months could determine the shape of the next few years.”
Top 10 towns and cities suffering from housing market downturn
1.Rochdale, Lancashire (26% of property unsold after 12 months on the market)
2.Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales (23%)
3.Swanage, Dorset (20%)
4.Pontefract, West Yorkshire (18%)
5.Ripon, North Yorkshire (15%)
6.Wetherby, West Yorkshire (15%)
7.Shipley, West Yorkshire (14%)
8.Oldham, Lancashire (14%)
9.Manchester, Greater Manchester (13%)
10.Salford, Lancashire (12%)
How the major cities compare
1.Manchester (13% of property unsold after 12 months on the market)
Advice for sellers
* Be realistic. While the value of your property might have fallen over the past 12 months, unless you bought in the past year or so, you should still have made a decent profit.
* Take advice from your estate agent to find out what similar properties are selling for.
* Check that potential buyers are serious: if they have committed some cash, they are less likely to pull out.
* Make sure your property is immaculate: a fresh lick of paint and a general tidy-up could make all the difference in attracting all-important buyers.
* Think about how you can make your property more appealing: offer to pay stamp duty, throw in a season ticket for commuters or offer it fully furnished.