The latest research by estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, has revealed that so far this year, the time it takes to sell a property has increased by 14% when compared to last year. With an average time of 144 days or nearly five months, from listing to completing, homebuyers looking to take advantage of the recently announced stamp duty holiday need to act now.
GetAgent.co.uk tracks transactions across the UK from the point they are listed for sale online to the point they are recorded as completed with the Land Registry, giving them an extensive record of the time it takes to sell.
The latest data shows that the time to sell increased by 8% (9 days) between 2018 and 2019 as Brexit uncertainty plagued the market. With a fresh wave of uncertainty hitting the market in 2020 due to a COVID-19, industry-wide lockdown, the average time to sell so far this year has now hit 144 days; a 14% increase (18 days). In London, this average time to sell climbs to 158 days or 5.3 months.
This means that buyers looking to take advantage of the recent stamp duty cuts need to act now in order to get a sale comfortably over the line within the eight-month holiday period, although in some pockets of the market it may already be too late.
The slowest pockets of the market are currently the City of London (271 days), Aberdeenshire (269 days) and Moray (261 days), where the average sale takes more than 260 days or nine months.
Highland (243 days), Gwynedd (233 days), Denbighshire (215 days), Conwy (212 days), Barrow-in-Furness (210 days), South Lakeland (207 days) and Pembrokeshire (206 days) also rank within the top 10 slowest spots for a property sale in 2020.
In these areas, homebuyers currently searching the market are unlikely to transact before the end of the current stamp duty holiday and would, therefore, miss out on any savings.
However, there are many pockets of the UK market where property is selling considerably quicker than the national average and where homebuyers would have plenty of time to transact before the eight-month stamp duty reprieve has ended.
Edinburgh is the best place in the UK for a quick sale, with the average transaction taking just 78 days or 2.6 months in 2020. Wigan (86 days), North Lanarkshire (91 days), Bolsover (91 days), Nuneaton and Bedworth (94 days) and East Dunbartonshire (94 days) also rank within the quickest spots.
Bristol, Ashfield, Mansfield and Glasgow complete the top 10.
In London, Camden (205 days) and Kensington and Chelsea (201 days) join Westminster as some of the slowest spots for a property sale. Bexley is the borough home to the quickest average time to sell at 117 days, with Greenwich (122 days), Barking and Dagenham (124 days), Bromley (128 days) and Waltham Forest (128 days) also amongst the quickest.
Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, commented:
“An overall increase in the time to sell will come as no surprise, given the industry-wide restrictions implemented during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. While the market has seen a rejuvenated level of demand bolstered by the recent stamp duty holiday, many homebuyers will have to act quickly to see the benefit, while in some areas they are unlikely to benefit at all due to much longer transaction times.
For those thinking of selling, it’s important to understand how long it may take in your local market and how this can impact your ongoing purchase. It’s also sensible to give yourself a time buffer, as the process of finding an agent and listing your property can often take as long as three weeks before your property even goes live.
With this considered, the time frame of 165 days to sell the average UK home is probably a realistic one in the current market conditions. Therefore those looking to buy now need to get their skates on if they are going to complete while the stamp duty holiday is still available.”