New year, new house: searches shoot up as people look to up sticks

Rightmove has seen 10% more visitors to its site so far this year compared to the start of 2017, with more than four million people looking for a new home – so why is it taking longer to sell?

The time it now takes to sell a property in the UK, on average, has leapt to 67 days, up from last summer’s figures which showed the average house was on the market for 55 days before it sold. As house price growth climbs more slowly, with a rise of 0.7% seen in January compared to last year, it could be that sellers need to price their properties less ambitiously in order to achieve a faster sale.

In the capital, prices have continued to fall, with a 1.4% decrease month-on-month in January down to £600,926, according to current listing data from Rightmove, which is 3.4% lower than the previous year.

However, the four million visitors to the property portal’s site prove that market interest and consumer confidence is still very strong.

How to sell your property

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “While potential buyers are still busy looking, they are looking for good value and the right property. Price rises have had a good run and the return of the days of optimistic pricing is consequently some years away and contingent upon earnings increasing and interest rates remaining low. Sellers should get good local advice to ensure that their property price and presentation are suitable for their local market conditions.”

January is traditionally a very busy time in the property market, as potential sellers may have held off over the Christmas period and are now looking to list their houses to gain the most interest. However, it can take the market some time to pick back up, so the longer selling times seen could just be a result of the market taking slightly longer to warm back up.

Elliot Castle, CEO of homebuying company We Buy Any Home, said: “There will undoubtedly be more property searches during January, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t receive an offer at the very start of the year

“One thing you can be sure of is that there will be more competition in the market in the first quarter of next year, so make sure you do everything you can to ensure your property is shown in its best light, setting you apart from the rest of the market.”

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