Homes in the city take 96 days to sell

17 November 2017

It typically takes 96 days – that’s almost 14 weeks ­– to sell a home in Britain’s major cities, but there are wide regional variations and it can be as little as 41 days in some Scottish cities, according to new research.

The ‘City Rate of Sale’ report commissioned by Post Office Money found that sellers in Edinburgh and Glasgow have the least amount of time to wait for a sale, with homes remaining on the market for just 41 and 50 days respectively out of 23 major cities.

Bristol tops the league of cities in England for quick sales, with an average selling time of 61 days, followed by Stoke-on-Trent (70 days) and Manchester (71 days). This contrasts with London, Liverpool and Belfast, where it typically takes 111, 112, and 119 days respectively to sell.

With a particular focus on 14 of the UK’s largest cities, the research – conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) – also looked at the percentage of each city that is affordable to first-time buyers. While homes in Liverpool take longer than average to sell, 87% of properties for sale are affordable to first-time buyers.

Not only do houses sell quickly in Stoke-On-Trent – 25% faster than last year – but it is also a hotspot for first-time buyers. Here, the average house price was just £104,250 in August. Homes in Stoke-on-Trent went up in value over the year by just 0.9% – the smallest increase of any major city in the UK.

Meanwhile, a lack of new buildings on the market in Edinburgh has meant that buyers are keen to snap homes up, with sales taking 24% fewer days than a year ago. Prices have gone up in the city by 10.4%, as compared with 3.9% annual growth for Scotland as a whole.

Owen Woodley, managing director at Post Office Money, says: “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.

“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,” he adds.

See the table below for the full findings.


CityAvg. time to sell (90 days to 17/10/17)Median time on the market, % change YOY (Oct 2017)AAvg. house price, August 2017

Source: Post Office Money, 17 November 2017.

Post Office Money offers these tips for buyers:

  • If buying in an area with a slower sale rate, an ability to move faster may provide an opportunity to negotiate with the current owners on house price.
  • Consider in advance what interim solutions, such as renting or staying with friends, are financially viable if you are in a chain – especially if sales in your area tend to complete faster than the area you are moving to.
  • Use average sale rates to help plan for any additional costs that may occur if your home takes longer to sell than expected. Paying council tax, home insurance and service charges on two properties can soon add up.
  • If renting, discuss with your landlord what options you have in case you need to stay a bit longer in your rental property if your new home is not ready.
  • Don’t forget to factor in stamp duty and ‘property search’ costs. While stamp duty can be a big expense, property searches are a legal requirement and may highlight structural or planning issues that impact the property value or lead to additional future costs.

Looking at the stress of selling your home, Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, adds: “Selling a property is one of the most stressful things you can do, no matter whether you’re a 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.”

Propertymark offers these tips for sellers:

  • First impressions are key and they really influence a buyer’s decision, so make sure the property looks well maintained and cared for from the outside. Washing windows and walls to remove any dirt can help improve the overall look and feel of your property.
  • Buyers may not share your tastes in décor and when they’re looking around your home it’s important that they can imagine themselves living there. Anything too over-personalised can be a turn-off, so keep colours neutral.
  • A well looked-after garden can give your home the wow-factor. Make sure your garden is tidied of any litter, the lawn is mowed, leaves are raked away, weeds removed and overgrown trees are cut back.
  • Giving your kitchen a quick freshen-up is a cost-effective way to dramatically improve the appeal of your home. Give cabinets a quick lick of paint or replace doors and handles.
  • Open windows to air your property ahead of any viewings; a room that smells musty is a huge turn-off. Maintain a good level of lighting in your home to make the space feel inviting. During the day, make sure all curtains and blinds have been drawn and, in the evenings, turn on side lamps and light a fire to give the property a homely feel.

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