The time it takes to complete a house sale has reached a three-year high, and sellers are accepting discounts of as much as £9,800, according to a new Cities House Price Index by Zoopla.

Whereas the typical sale used to take eight weeks back in 2016, it now takes at least 12 weeks, so sellers have been willing to accept lower prices 3.8 per cent below their original listed price, just to ensure that they can clinch a sale.

Areas with higher house prices were found to have even longer timeframes when it came to completing sales, suggesting that affordability is a key component in helping buyers and sellers come to an agreement.

National Landlord Investment Show – MPU

Two weeks ago, official government data revealed that housing transactions bounced back in September, after a summertime lull in activity, suggesting that there was still an appetite for both buyers and sellers alike to complete sales.

Scottish homes sell faster

Glasgow and Edinburgh saw quicker sales compared to other cities, with sales taking just five to six weeks at most. Added to this, sellers didn’t have to make discounts during a sale, but actually managed to negotiate offers over the original listed price, some six to seven per cent above asking price.

Zoopla added that the process for sales in Scotland is slightly different compared to the rest of the UK, due to the fact that more information is given to buyers about properties during the sales process.

By contrast, London was found to have one of the longest waiting times for sales to be completed, at 14 weeks on average. Homeowners were also found to be making discounts on their homes, making them 5 per cent cheaper than the original listed price.

In Inner London, this trend was magnified, with recorded discounts 7.9 per cent below the asking price, equivalent to £49,824 less than the original marketed price for homes in that area.

Home prices continue to grow

Despite the regional variance in selling price discounts, the overall value of the average home increased in UK cities, according to Zoopla. Homes in the UK’s most populous cities grew by an average of 2.4 per cent annually in September, but price growth was weaker in London, at 0.1 per cent growth year-on-year.

At present, buyers are reaping the benefits of stronger annual wage growth of 3.8 per cent, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Strong wage growth is outpacing average price gains in homes. The inclusion of discounts during sales helps boost buyer spending power even further.

Improvements in affordability come, despite the supply of new homes remaining low and demand remaining strong. The latest housebuilding figures in England suggested that new builds remained significantly below the government’s own housebuilding target, of 300,000 new homes by the mid-2020s.

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Steven Taylor
Steven reports on the daily churn of the property news cycle, often reporting on the stories you may have missed during the week. He covers a range of topics, including market sentiment, new findings and announcements by policy-makers.

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