Time to sell hits three-year high across UK cities

Michael Lloyd

October 30, 2019

The time to sell a home across UK cities has hit a three year-high, according to the September Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index.

Residential properties are taking nearly a month longer to sell than they did in 2016, with vendors accepting offers that are an average of 3.8% lower than the initial asking price.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “There is a continued polarisation in housing market conditions across the country set by underlying market fundamentals, albeit Brexit uncertainty has been a compounding factor for lower market activity in some areas.

“A General Election seems to be a growing possibility ahead of any Brexit resolution; however, once the political outlook becomes clearer, we would expect a modest bounce-back in demand for a six – 12-month period.

“Regardless, removing the uncertainty caused by Brexit will do little to address levels of housing affordability, which are limiting market activity across Southern England.

“Market conditions are set to remain weak in southern cities until pricing levels adjust to what buyers are willing, or can afford, to pay.

“London is three years into a re-pricing process, and we expect sales volumes to slowly improve over 2020, while house price growth remains subdued.

“There are large parts of the country where housing affordability remains attractive, fuelled by continued economic growth that supports demand for homes, resulting in reasonable sales periods and only modest gaps between sales and asking prices.”

Demand from owner-occupiers looking to purchase a new home continued with average house prices across UK cities 2.4% higher than in September 2018.

Rising employment levels and attractive affordability are sustaining demand in cities across the Midlands and North of England, resulting in above average house price growth.

The majority (75%) of UK cities in these regions are registering an average time to sell of between 8.4 and 9.5 weeks, with sellers accepting the smallest discounts to asking price of 2% to 3%.

Housing market conditions remain weakest across London, Oxford and Aberdeen.

In these areas the average time to sell is over 14 weeks and the discount required to achieve a sale is just below 5%.

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