How quickly will my house to sell?” It’s a common enough question, especially during the autumn sales window, which is the shortest. Unfortunately it's not a question that has any easy answers, because there are just too many variables.
Every sale is different and so is every location. It doesn’t stop there either, it also depends on the time of year, the state of the economy and how many similar properties are on the market at the same time. Then there’s the biggest variable of all - price. If the property is priced competitively and in a desirable area, it is likely to spend less time on the market than an overpriced home, for example, in a street full of similar properties.
To get a truly accurate picture of how long the process should take, you would have to get figures for every single variant. Clearly, that's not practical. However, thanks to Rightmove, there is a very rough guide to average times across the country.
THE AVERAGE TIME ON THE MARKET 2019
January – 77 days (national) 89 (London)
May – 63 days (national) 72 (London)
August - 62 days (national) 69 (London)
THE AVERAGE TIME ON THE MARKET 2012
January – 108 days (national) 105 (London)
May – 78 days (national) 63 (London)
August - 92 days (national) 83 (London)
Things have speeded up considerably since 2012. At the time, the Eurozone crisis was still in full flow, the market was still struggling post the financial crash in 2008 and first time buyers were finding it very difficult indeed to get a foot on the ladder. Prices in London, however, were rising. Since then, prices have risen across the country but have fallen in London. It means selling times in London are now slower than the national average.
There are some quite large regional variations. The slowest sales occur in the North East (76 days) and London (69 days). The fastest sales are in Scotland, taking just 43 days.
These figures do not take into account the time taken between exchange and completion, which will normally add another couple of weeks. It is also worth bearing in mind that, with property sales, you can encounter the odd unexpected complication, such as a disappointing survey or an extensive chain. The amount of time they add is directly related to the complexity of the problem.
It's also worthwhile looking at it from a buying perspective, which takes almost twice as long as a sale.
THE AVERAGE BUYING TIMES
Beginning of the search to offer accepted: 12 weeks
Obtaining a mortgage offer: + 4 weeks
Exchange of contracts: + 4 weeks
Completion: + 2 weeks
Total: 22 weeks (154 days)
As you can see, selling a house is seldom a swift process but remember, averages are just that, average. That’s to say, if the average in your area is 3 months, yours could take 4 months to sell and someone else’s might take 2. The only person who has the kind of in-depth knowledge required for a more accurate forecast is your local agent. Even they are often reluctant to commit to a timeframe. However, if you’re in a hurry to sell, they can advise you on the best pricing strategy and will normally be able to tell you how long it took to sell any comparable properties.