townhouses in London with a 'sold' sign time to sell

Average time to sell is now 64 days after another monthly fall

While house price trends are often seen as a major factor to consider when investing in property, time to sell is another important indicator of the health of the market.

The UK property market continues to experience a spring revival as many of the signs of a slump are being reversed, including house prices. The average asking price, according to Rightmove, is now just £570 lower than the record high last May of £372,894, as the portal records another asking price rise.

Annually, house price growth has increased to +1.7%, says Rightmove, while both the number of homes for sale and the number of sales agreed have both risen, by 12% and 13% respectively. Thursday, 28th March marked the highest number of sellers coming to the market in one day, sparking a hive of activity for agents.

A different focus

While taking into consideration these movements in pricing and transactions is important for homebuyers and property investors, another important measure to look at is time to sell. The average time to sell a property can vary widely from area to area, and it can show how high appetite is and therefore help to predict future growth.

According to the latest figures, the average time to sell in the UK housing market has fallen month-on-month to 64 days. This is down from a peak of 78 days in January, and represents the second consecutive monthly fall. This follows a number of monthly rises in time to sell figures since the last low point of 55 days between March and July 2023.

Importantly, Rightmove’s data looks specifically at the time it takes for a home to find a buyer and accept an offer, from the date of first being listed. The actual time it takes for the sale to then go through is much longer – with the latest figures from Yopa showing the transaction normally takes around 240 days.

Time to sell by region

Regional trends can be significant when looking at property market performance, although for those considering their next investment, looking more specifically at the performance of individual areas is paramount.

In Rightmove’s research, the location where it takes the longest time to sell – or to accept a buyer’s offer – is Wales, where it takes 76 days on average.

The shortest, which actually skews the average down considerably, is Scotland, where it takes just 37 days. This might be because the buying method is somewhat different in Scotland – the seller sets a specific time and date by which prospective buyers must have submitted an offer. The seller then accepts their preferred offer.

In the rest of the UK, time to sell ranges from 60 days to 76 days, making the average excluding Scotland closer to 68 days. Region by region time to sell:

  1. North East: 60 days
  2. London: 63 days
  3. Yorkshire and the Humber: 65 days
  4. North West: 66 days
  5. West Midlands: 66 days
  6. South East: 66 days
  7. South West: 67 days
  8. East of England: 68 days
  9. East Midlands: 73 days
  10. Wales: 76 days

Property stock is on the rise

Market activity is set to continue to rise as we move towards the summer months thanks to the latest increase in the number of homes available on the UK market. Rightmove’s figures, which pertain to March, show that there are now 53 properties for sale per agent (including under offer or sold subject to completion).

This has gone up from 51 in February, and 49 in both December and January. This time last year, agents had an average of 45 properties on their books, so the market is certainly moving in the right direction to see a pick-up in transaction levels in the coming months.

Commenting, Tim Bannister Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, said: “The summer holidays are typically a time of distraction for some home-hunters, as they temporarily pause their search and head abroad or to the British seaside.

“In addition, the Euro 2024 football tournament and the Olympics this summer, likely followed by a General Election during the second half of the year, will add more buyer distractions than usual. There appears to be a tempting window of opportunity for those who are considering a move to act now before these distractions arrive.

“While affordability is still very tight, property and mortgage market conditions remain stable, buyer choice is good, and many sellers will recognise that it is the right time to negotiate on price to agree a deal. The boost in activity suggests that many home movers are already springing into action to make their move.”

If you’re keen to find your next property investment opportunity in the UK, get in touch with BuyAssociation‘s team of experienced consultants today, or browse some of our available projects

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