The average Leeds property takes just 77 days to sell

The average UK property takes 96 days to sell, according to the latest City Rate of Sale report from Post Office Money.

The report developed with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), examines the average time a property takes to sell in more than 20 major cities across the UK. Sellers in Scottish cities Edinburgh and Glasgow had the least amount of time to wait, with homes spending 41 and 50 days on the market, respectively.

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Cities to the West of the UK were more likely to see a longer wait, with residences in Liverpool and Belfast typically taking over 100 days (112 and 119 respectively) to sell. When properties have been on the market longer, buyers can potentially negotiate a better deal, particularly in areas like Liverpool where 87% of properties for sale are affordable to first-time buyers.

Owen Woodley, Managing Director, Post Office Money comments: “Against a backdrop of muted but steady increases in house prices across the country and sustained demand from the FTB market, these movements in time to sell reflect the changes in the number of properties listed for sale in cities across the UK. We know from previous research that first time buyers are taking a flexible approach to finding an affordable home, most especially towards location. Second Steppers in contrast, have less flexibility as they are specifically looking to move to a new area (39%) or a bigger property (35%).

“Therefore, on the whole across the UK, the number of houses on the market has fallen because those looking to trade up are struggling to find good properties at acceptable prices. This is likely to become a growing issue as buyers are more likely to wait out the current market until price growth returns more forcefully.”

Edinburgh and Stoke on Trent have seen the biggest fall in the time properties spend on the market – despite the fact that they are opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of house price growth.

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The Edinburgh housing market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and a lack of new buildings is responsible for the fall in time on market and increase in prices. Edinburgh has also seen prices rise by 10.4% over the past year, well above the 3.9% growth for Scotland as a whole.

Stoke-On-Trent, meanwhile, is a hotspot for FTBs; this has stimulated demand for houses priced under £250,000 and reduced the time on the market. However, competition has not increased so much for more expensive properties, as a number of newly built properties in the area have increased supply, this has placed downward pressure on prices. Homes in Stoke-on-Trent increased by only 0.9% in value, the smallest increase of any major city in the UK.

In contrast, southern cities Southend and Portsmouth have seen the sharpest increase in the typical time that properties have spent on the market with Southend seeing a 12% increase and Portsmouth, a 10% increase. In part, this reflects the fact that both cities are becoming less affordable as they have both seen a higher increase in house price values than is normal for their respective regions.

House prices have risen in each of the cities analysed in this report over the last year, with the average price of a home in the UK rising by 5.0% in the year to August 2017. However, overall both house price growth and sales volumes have decelerated suggesting we have reached a ‘tipping point’ where growth has left many areas unaffordable for the average buyer. This could see delays for the 11% of current homeowners who want to move up the ladder in the near future.

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Owen Woodley, Managing Director, Post Office Money continues: “City Rate of Sale data can be a useful indicator of momentum in a local property market and buyers can use this insight to help plan for their next move. If a sale moves faster, or takes longer than planned, buyers can face unexpected costs. This is why we’ve created some top tips for buyers to help them prepare and plan ahead for any unforeseen costs so they’re not caught short.”

Post Office Money’s top tips for buyers;

If buying in an area with a slower sale rate, an ability to move faster may provide an opportunity to negotiate with the current owners on house price. Having an agreement in principle in place will also help if a sale is taking too long because you will have the ability to find another property.Consider in advance what interim solutions such as renting or staying with friends, are most financially viable to you if you are in a chain, especially if sales in your area tend to complete faster than the area you are moving to.Use average sale rates to help plan for any additional costs that may occur if your home takes longer to sell than expected. Paying Council tax, home insurance and service charges on two properties can quickly add up.If renting, have a discussion with your landlord in advance of your property search to understand what options you have in case you need to remain a little longer in your rental property if your new home is not available at the same time as your rental agreement.Don’t forget to factor in stamp duty and ‘property search’ costs (also known as conveyancing searches). While stamp duty can be a big expense, property searches are a legal requirement and may highlight structural or planning issues that impact the property value, or lead to additional future costs.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “Selling a property is one of the most stressful things you can do, no matter whether you’re a first-time-buyer, second-time-buyer or tenth-time-buyer. Going through the process can sometimes feel like having a second job, and can be a real strain – especially if you’ve found your dream property and are holding up a chain. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ time to market your property in order to secure a quick sale. You should work with an estate agent you trust, to get the property on the market at the right price as soon as you’re ready in order to maximise your chances of a stress-free and speedy sale.”

Propertymark’s top tips for sellers;

First impressions are key and they really influence a buyer’s decision, so it’s important to make sure the property looks well maintained and cared for from the outside. Washing windows and walls to remove any dirt can help improve the overall look and feel of your property.Potential house buyers may not share your tastes in décor and when they’re looking around your home it’s important that they can imagine themselves living there. Anything too over personalised can be a turn off, so keeping colours neutral will make the property more appealing.A well looked after garden can give your home the wow-factor and is a key selling point for many buyers. For starters, it’s important to make sure your garden is tidied of any litter, the lawn is mowed, leaves are raked away, weeds removed and overgrown trees are cut back. If you have the time, you could pot some bright coloured plants to make the space more attractive.Giving your kitchen a quick freshen up is a cost-effective way to dramatically improve the appeal of your home to potential buyers. By giving the cabinets a quick lick of paint, or replacing the doors and handles, the room will instantly be more appealing to viewers.Open up the windows to air your property ahead of any viewings; rooms that smell musty are a huge turn off. If it’s cold outside, don’t forget to close them in time for the room to warm up again. It’s crucial to maintain a good level of lighting in your home as well, to make the space feel inviting. During the day, make sure all curtains and blinds have been drawn and in the evenings, turn on side lamps and light a fire to give the property a homely feel.