According to the latest House Price Index from Zoopla, the speed of property sales in the UK shows that the average time to sell a property (from being listed for sale to being sold subject to contracts) in the UK is 30 days, which was also the average speed over the last five year. However, some homes are selling in just 21 days.
The current average sell time of 30 days is just one day slower than reported in January 2023. Still, the current selling time is ten days slower than last year, as many people were moving after the pandemic and potentially securing mortgage deals before rates continued to rise.
Except for the pandemic in 2020, the time it takes to sell a property depends on the season, with properties selling faster in the first half of the year.
Sales are slowing down as we feel the effects of increasing mortgage rates, high inflation, cost-of-living pressures and low consumer confidence.
Over the last 18 months, as mortgage rates have rocketed from their historic lows, value for money plays a more significant role in the property market, affecting the areas where houses are selling fastest. According to the latest data, eight of last year’s fastest areas are still in the top 25.
The two fastest-selling areas in the UK are Eden and Newcastle upon Tyne, selling in just 21 days, closely followed by Bristol, Carlisle, Knowsley and Waltham Forest. Homes in these areas tend to see above-average house price growth as competition increases.
Given that mortgage rates are so much higher than in 2021, buyers are increasingly unable to afford a property where they sold the fastest. The most affected homes in the south of England are selling much slower this year. Similarly, areas in high demand in the North West are now taking much slower to sell, including Manchester, Wigan and Chorley.
In considering regional trends, the East Midlands and the East of England are now taking the longest to sell at 4 and 3 more days, respectively, than they usually would have over the last five years. It takes 27 days to sell a property in the Northeast, five days faster than its 5-year average of 32 days.
Homes in the West Midlands are taking 28 days to sell, and homes in the South West are taking 29 days.
The slowest-selling homes in London and the South East take 34 and 35 days to sell, respectively.
These figures are based on the time it takes to be sold, subject to contract after being listed for sale – but a lot can happen after this stage. A mortgage application must be approved; the conveyancing process can take up to a month and could be longer if there is a property chain. Only after the exchange of contracts is the purchase legally binding. Completing a property purchase when a buyer can move in can take weeks after the exchange date.