Time to sell hits three-year high across UK Cities, finds Zoopla
28th October 2019
Homes across UK Cities now take over 12 weeks to sell compared to eight weeks in 2016
Residential properties in London now take an average of 14.5 weeks to sell, with sales agreed at an average of 5.7% below asking price
Scotland speeds ahead, with time to sell fastest in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Southern market conditions remain moderate, with homes taking nearly a month longer to sell compared to same period in 2016
UK city house price inflation running at +2.4% - half the five-year average growth (+4.8%) and below the growth in average earnings (+3.8%)
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 (see table 1)*. 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% or £9,800 lower than the initial asking price.
Demand from owner-occupiers looking to purchase a new home is holding up, with average house prices across UK cities 2.4% higher than in September 2018. While Brexit uncertainty is impacting market sentiment, market fundamentals - and particularly the affordability of housing - continue to shape market dynamics at a city level.
Market conditions strongest in Midlands and North of England
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% (see Figure 1).
Market dynamics have improved markedly over the last three years in Liverpool and Newcastle, but discounts to asking prices remain above average at over 4% with an average time to sell over 10 weeks.
Housing market conditions remain weakest across London, Oxford and Aberdeen. Here, the average time to sell is over 14 weeks and the discount required to achieve a sale is just below 5% - this is double the level of discount to asking price in cities with the strongest market conditions (see table 3).
The weakest market conditions are in Aberdeen, resulting from the fall in the oil price since 2015; average home values are £46,969 lower here than they were in mid-2015.
In London, residential properties now take 14.5 weeks to sell, which is over a month (5.3 weeks) longer than in 2016. Sellers in the London market are accepting offers from buyers that are on average 5.7% below their asking price, up from just 1.8% in 2016.
Discount to asking prices also diverge between inner and outer London. Inner London remains more price sensitive, with agreed prices averaging 7.6% or £49,824 below asking, compared to a 4.7% gap in outer London, which equates to an average reduction of £21,015. In addition, homes within inner London now take 20 weeks to sell compared to 13.9 weeks in outer London – both higher than the UK Cities average of 12.2 weeks.
Time to sell across southern cities has accelerated up from three years prior (see figure. 3), with homes taking an average of 11.6 weeks to sell, in comparison to just 7.4 weeks in 2016. Discount to asking price has also increased over the last three years from 1.7% to 3.8% in these cities.
Scottish markets prevail
The strongest market conditions are in Scotland, where a different system for sales transactions, and where more information is provided to buyers up front, makes for the fastest time to sell of all UK Cities. Specifically, homes in Glasgow and Edinburgh sell within 5-6 weeks. With property typically marketed as ‘offers over’, Glasgow and Edinburgh are also the only UK Cities not to register a discount, instead commanding an average of 6-7% above the asking price.
Commenting on the September Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index 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.”
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*Zoopla defines ‘time to sell’ as the period of time between a home’s first marketing date to the property going under offer
Notes to editors
About Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index
Zoopla’s House Price Indices are based on the largest underlying data sample of any UK house price index. The 20 cities covered by the index contain 35% of the UK housing stock by volume and 43% of capital value. Our index FAQ’s have all the information about our indices and how they are run. Data for the index is powered by Hometrack, a part of Zoopla. Hometrack is a leading provider of automated property valuations and statistical property market insights in the UK to over 400 partners including mortgage lenders, developers, investors, government agencies, housing associations and others.
The Zoopla Limited property division includes some of the UK's leading property portal, software, marketing and data insights brands that help property professionals market their properties, promote their brand, make informed decisions and manage their business efficiently. Our websites and apps attract over 50 million visits per month and over 25,000 business partners use our range of services.
Zoopla is the UK's most comprehensive property portal, helping consumers research the market and find their next home by combining hundreds of thousands of property listings with market data and local information.
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SmartNewHomes is the UK's leading website dedicated exclusively to new builds, helping buyers understand the market and search for new build homes from all the leading property developers across the country.
Hometrack and Calcasa are leading providers of automated property valuations and statistical property market insights in the UK and the Netherlands to partners including mortgage lenders, developers, investors, government agencies, housing associations and others.
Alto, Jupix and Expert Agent are some of the leading cloud-based estate agency and property management software systems used by thousands of property professionals across the UK for the day-to-day management of inventory, marketing and communications.
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