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Selling a home can take a frustrating amount of time. One of the most stressful aspects of selling is not knowing how long it will take. Imagine losing out on your dream house because yours is still sitting in the window of your local estate agent.
In the UK, the average time it takes from a property being listed for sale to completion is six months. The property industry is unpredictable and whilst one property may sell in a matter of weeks, there are plenty that sit on the market for not only months, but years. The annoying thing is there is typically, on the surface, no clear reason as to why some houses sell quickly and others hit the bottom of the pile.
How long a property stays on the market differs substantially across the country. While the average time spent forlornly sitting in an agent’s window is six months, there is a geographical divide. As you can imagine, in major cities the turnaround on properties is extremely rapid. With the demand for properties so high in cities such as London and Manchester, many are putting down deposits immediately after a first viewing.
The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis and even demand for homes in suburban and rural locations has peaked compared to the previous decade. Whilst there are locations that don’t struggle as much – think commuter towns and villages – there are some idyllic locations that have witnessed homes on the market for months and even years.
Many estate agents stress that the key to a quick house sale is all down to timing; placing your property on the market just when the perfect prospective buyer is browsing. However, unless crystal balls become a reality, it’s impossible to know when this might be.
Seasonal fluctuations do have an impact on the time it takes to sell a property. A general rule of thumb is that winter and summer are difficult times of the year to sell, given the Christmas period and lengthy summer holiday period. Typically, spring and autumn are the favoured months for property sales.
Undoubtedly the EU referendum and years of Brexit negotiations had an impact on the buying and selling of property. People were cautious and the general consensus was to wait for things to blow over. Whilst it wasn’t impossible to sell or buy a home in this period, there were drops in property values throughout the years and extremely stagnant periods. House prices fell dramatically in the latter half of 2018. However, there were positive periods too, with December 2019 recording a 6.8% increase in the number of property transactions year on year.