Selling a home can be a difficult undertaking but it is a quicker process in some places than others.
According to new research, selling a home in the UK takes almost three times longer than it does in the US, and an entire month longer than in Spain. One expert in buying and selling homes described the UK’s transaction timeline as “embarrassing”.
Home Sale Pack “analysed the average time it takes to sell a home in ten of the world’s busiest housing markets to understand how the UK’s notoriously inefficient process ranks on the world stage”.
The research found that the US, Canada, France, Germany, UAE, Portugal, Italy and Australia all beat the UK for home-selling efficacy.
‘The UK struggles to match the home selling efficiency of other nations’
The findings revealed that the UK has “by far the longest selling timeline”. The experts at Home Sale Pack said: “The UK struggles to match the home selling efficiency of other nations, with an average timeline of 183 days or six months.
“This means that selling a home in the UK takes almost three times longer than it does in the USA, and an entire month longer than the second-worst performer, Spain.”
The experts said: “The data shows that the nation with the fastest selling process is the US where it takes an average of just 69 days to complete a transaction from the time of listing through to closing.
“In Canada, the average property takes just 90 days to make it through to the closing stage, while in France the journey takes 105 days.”
Average time it takes to sell a home, from quickest to slowest
- USA: 69 days
- Canada: 105 days
- France: 105 days
- Germany: 106 days
- UAE: 107 days
- Portugal: 122 days
- Italy: 137 days
- Australia: 137 days
- Spain: 152 days
- UK: 183 days
The transaction timeline could be improved in the UK if prospective buyers are given the ‘vital information they need to make a decision right at the beginning’
Co-founder of Home Sale Pack Ruth Beeton commented on why the house selling timeline is slower than optimal – and advised how this could be improved.
She said: “The UK boasts one of the strongest and most desirable property markets on the global stage, but despite our obsession with bricks and mortar, our protracted property transaction timeline is quite frankly embarrassing.
“Of course, markets differ and each nation will have its own unique nuances with regard to selling a property, as well as varying definitions of when in the timeline a property is actually sold. But despite this, it’s clear that the UK is miles behind the rest when it comes to speed and efficiency.
“The problem is clear – the UK’s process is simply archaic and has failed to evolve for decades, perhaps centuries. One of the key failings is the proper provision of upfront information which not only helps increase speed, but also certainty.
“We’re working hard to normalise the process of sellers providing all prospective buyers with the vital information they need to make a decision right at the beginning of the process, because this alone will slash weeks and even months off our embarrassing transaction timeline.”
The average house price jumped by £3,000 in February on the previous month, according to Rightmove.
Experts have put the increase down to mortgage rates remaining relatively stable after a surge caused uncertainties at the start of 2023.
The news comes despite recent confirmations that the UK has slipped into recession in the last half of 2023, which can cause house prices to fall.
The number of sales secured in the first weeks of the year has been 16 per cent higher than in the same period last year.
Rightmove experts say February is a standout month for sellers
The UK’s largest property website, Rightmove, previously claimed that February stands out as an optimal month for selling homes.
This means that first-time sellers who put their property on the market for a fair price could have great chances of securing a buyer.
Properties that are overpriced are being rejected by price-sensitive buyers, however, with analyses indicating that fair pricing is much more likely to see a property sell.
Data released by the website indicates that asking prices for the average new sellers have increased by 0.9 per cent in February, translating to a £3,091 increase in the average asking price, to £362,839.
The increase is in line with the seasonal rise that typically occurs in February.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, said: “Mortgage rates have fallen considerably from their peak and are now remaining broadly stable after the uncertainty of late 2022, and 2023.
“Momentum to move in 2024 is continuing to build, but prospective sellers mustn’t get carried away.
“Buyers now have more choice of property for sale and many are still very price-sensitive with mortgage rates remaining elevated.
The average house price increased by 0.9 per cent through February
“Sellers who are serious about moving this year would be well-advised to ride this wave of increased buyer confidence with an attractive asking price before any pre-election jitters or unexpected events dampen the momentum.”
It comes as Britain’s housing market saw the number of properties climb by a staggering 34 per cent compared to the same time last year.
The release of Rightmove’s report comes as the rental index for Hamptoms claims that average rents on newly let properties across Britain rose by 8.3 per cent annually in January.
Hamptons offered a list of the average monthly rents in January and the annual increase in percentage and cash terms:
- London, £2,315, 8.1%, £174
- East of England, £1,292, 13.1%, £149
- South East, £1,407, 7.7%, £101
- South West, £1,156, 5.3%, £59
- Midlands, £950, 10.0%, £86
- North of England, £885, 8.2%, £67
- Wales, £891, 4.5%, £34
- Scotland, £916, 9.9%, £82.
Britons looking to sell their properties can up their price with a few simple tweaks and hacks.
Jonathan Rolande, founder of House Buy Fast, told GB News that sprucing up your home can go a long way.
He warned Britons looking to sell their homes that clutter is the enemy, advising them to “declutter – especially in the kitchen”.
According to the expert, a neat and tidy home can be much more valuable than a messy one – think, a place for everything and everything in its place.
Britons can increase the value of their home by completing a kitchen chore
The same goes for bedrooms with Jonathan Rolande advising: “Put rooms back to the intended use – bedroom gyms don’t help sell a home.”
Britons can also make their homes more attractive by “getting all the bins out of sight”.
Rolande added: “Get everything looking its best. Jet wash the patio and drive, clean the windows and woodwork, and attend to any little jobs that need doing to create the right impression.
“If it needs it, paint the front door, and add a clear number or house name to help buyers find you.
Homeowners can also entice buyers with a clean home, so ensure you wash your windows inside and out if you plan on selling.
Rolande added: “Make sure it is warm and cosy on a cold day for viewings or cool and ventilated when the weather is hot.
“Air fresheners in the hall and landing help, make them seasonal – warm spice in winter, fresh flowers in summer.”
Britons who have furry friends at home may love to have them sit on the sofa as part of the family.
Keeping pets out of the way could add value to your home
But the expert recommended that people looking to increase the value of their home should “keep pets out of the way”.
Rolande concluded: “Get an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and if you are close to being in a higher band, invest in additional insulation or energy-saving lightbulbs.
“Buyers look at the EPC and will often pay more for a home that’s cheaper to run.”
Another expert said that “very tempting” home improvements could devalue your property.
Britons looking to purchase a property this year should be mindful that some areas of the UK are selling for a lot more than their original list price.
New research shows that homeowners in East Renfrewshire, Scotland, are selling their homes for above the list price more than in other parts of the UK.
East Renfrewshire has the highest number of properties sold above the list price in the UK, revealed experts at moving platform Getamover.co.uk using historical Zoopla data.
Houses found in this Scottish location are on average listed at £235,479, however the average selling price is £272,187.
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Property experts revealed which UK areas are selling houses for the most above their listing price
GETTY IMAGES / PA IMAGES
This means that the average price increase from the original listing is £36,708, the largest increase in all of the UK.
The second biggest difference between a home’s list price and selling price can be found in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Here, the average listing price of a house is £228,824, while the average selling price is £262,979.
Interestingly, London homes are seeing a decrease between the list price and the selling price. The experts explained that The City of London is seeing houses listed at around £849,983, and sold at around £807,500, a £42,483 reduction.
Britons looking to move to Manchester will likely find the selling price is more than the list price – but not by much.
Manchester is listing houses at £228,138 on average, and selling at an average of £234,848, which is £6,711 more than the average list price.
The top 10
areas in the UK where homes are selling the most above list price
- East Renfrewshire: £36,708 increase
- East Dunbartonshire: £34,155 increase
- Cambridge: £31,662 increase
- City of Edinburgh: £30,627 increase
- East Lothian: £29,456 increase
- Stirling: £27,872 increase
- City of Glasgow: £27,564 increase
- South Ayrshire: £21,017 increase
- Kensington and Chelsea: £19,818 increase
- Argyll and Bute: £19,394 increase
East Renfrewshire has the highest number of properties sold above the list price in the UK
Head of Getamover commented on the new research and revealed what this means for Britons who want to buy a property in the UK.
He said: “Buying a home is expensive no matter where in the UK you choose to settle down, but a fantastic investment. This study gives huge insight into the most desired areas of the country and where you might find yourself having to pay rather a lot more than the original list price.
“Typically in the UK, the best time to purchase or sell a property is during spring or summertime. By avoiding the colder winter and autumnal months, the risk of having to move during adverse weather conditions like snow and ice is less likely, making a more seamless completion of the sale and getting you in or out of your new home in no time.
“Interestingly, despite London being the most populated city in the UK, it struggles to sell homes above the original list price compared to similar popular areas such as Manchester and Glasgow, which rank higher in the rankings.
“House prices are also affected by the seasons. Prices are higher at certain times of the year, often spiking in the summer months, especially July, in comparison to the colder months mainly after the Christmas period. It has been found that there are more buyers in the market in spring and summer which means prices do not need to be discounted.”
Property prices appear to be on the rise, with some UK areas benefitting more than others.
Experts at Zoopla have shared the places where house prices have increased the most.
Around one in 10 homes have increased in value by five per cent in the last year, with one in five holding their value, the research stated.
House prices increased for an average of £7,800 in 2023 for those who experienced increases.
House prices have soared in some areas
The areas where the highest concentration of homes increased in value by at least five per cent have been shared.
Here are the percentages of homes that recorded rises of this size in the areas.
UK areas with highest concentration of house price rises
1. Rossendale, North West, 44.2%
2. Blackburn with Darwen, North West, 34.5%
3. Telford and Wrekin, West Midlands, 32.6%
=4. Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, 32.3%
=4. Burnley, North West, 32.3%
6. Bolton, North West, 31.1%
7. Inverclyde, Scotland, 30.0%
8. Glasgow City, Scotland, 29.7%
9. Carlisle, North West, 28.9%
10. Knowsley, North West, 27.9%
The areas where house prices dropped by five per cent or more have also been shared.
UK areas with highest concentration of house price falls
1. Dover, South East, 52.4%
2. Hastings, South East, 50.7%
3. Aberdeen City, Scotland, 45.1%
4. Canterbury, South East, 43.4%
5. Thanet, South East, 40.9%
6. Rother, South East, 38.6%
7. Folkestone & Hythe, South East, 35.8%
8. Tendring, Eastern England, 35.3%
9. Moray, Scotland, 32.1%
10. South Holland, East Midlands, 31.5%
The areas that have seen the biggest increases have been shared
Senior property researcher at Zoopla Izabella Lubowiecka said: “While national house prices indices pointed to modest house price falls over 2023, our property-by-property level tracking of home values shows that most homes saw their value unchanged or slightly higher over the year.
“Value reductions were focused in southern England while modest gains were recorded in lower priced, more affordable housing markets.”
This comes as the recent Halifax House Price Index showed similar increases.
It revealed the UK hotspots with the strongest house prices as rates climb for the fourth consecutive month.
Britons looking to sell their houses may want to make a few amendments to increase the value of their property.
Property prices have dropped across 80 per cent of the UK, according to Zoopla, and it’s possible that this trend could continue well into 2024.
In conversation with The Sliding Door Wardrobe Company, property experts revealed the “biggest mistakes” people make when trying to sell their homes.
Fitted bedroom specialists at The Sliding Door Wardrobe Company said that Britons trying to get their houses valued should ensure their garden is pristine – or at the very least not “overgrown”.
‘A messy garden is never a great first impression, but it can be even worse if you’ve got problem plants growing near your house’
The experts said: “A messy garden is never a great first impression, but it can be even worse if you’ve got problem plants growing near your house. Japanese knotweed is a particular plant to watch out for as it spreads extremely quickly, choking everything in its path. You may not notice it in the winter, but when summer arrives, small bamboo-like shoots will begin to appear.
“Japanese knotweed has infested most of the UK, with Bolton in Lancashire faring worst, experiencing 652 infestations within a 4km radius. The weed can reach heights of over seven feet and it’s very difficult to remove once it has a grip on your garden.”
Britons whose homes have a Japanese knotweed problem should call in a team of professionals, who will expertly remove the weed using a specialist weedkiller.
The experts also told Britons that having an “unwelcome feeling” in their homes is a big mistake.
They explained: “During our freezing, dark winters, one of the best things you can do is make sure your house is well-lit and warm. The level of heat and light during your valuation can drastically affect your valuation.”
Many of us feel gloomy during the colder, darker months, but with a well-lit warm house, you can “tap into feelings of comfort”.
Director at Fine & Country Edward Taylor, explained: “Generally light and bright spaces are hugely attractive and would increase the saleability and value of a space.”
The experts also advised sellers to touch up their paint before a valuation, ensuring it is not peeling. It’s also crucial to look out for mould.
They said: “Failing to redecorate and leaving unsightly mould on display can affect your valuation. This includes more than just the areas inside your home – think about how your property looks from the outside, covering everything from fencing to your front door.”
Painting over a mould problem is not the way to go. Taylor said: “Mould issues can be common in poorly ventilated properties, especially in bathrooms that don’t have windows or adequate airflow.”
If this is the case, limit the amount of moisture by opening windows and letting fresh air circulate. Call in a team of experts who can safely remove any spores, or tackle the problem yourself – just make sure you wear rubber gloves and protect your nose and mouth with a mask.
‘Japanese knotweed has infested most of the UK and is very difficult to remove once it has a grip on your garden’
While many of us live in a little bit of clutter, Taylor said this “could affect the marketability of a property and the potential for it to achieve the very best price at sale.”
But clearing up clutter doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Britons can add value to their homes by investing in fitted furniture and clever space-saving hacks.
The experts recommended giving your house a name or identity if you want to sell it for more.
Dominic Poulter from Northwood Estate Agents also added: “If the area is perhaps seen as less desirable, we would take this into account when looking at the valuation and take a look at comparable properties in the same location – how much have they successfully sold for? But ultimately the price will depend on the seller’s intent – do they need a sale tomorrow or are they willing to wait? It all depends on circumstance.”
Another mistake Britons should avoid making is having “unknown bespoke additions”. Poulter advised: “Extensions and unique additions can help sell a property, so you should always make sure the person carrying out your valuation is aware of any additions you have made.”
Finally, the experts advised against leaving “underlying issues” unaddressed. It’s best to resolve issues such as structural or water damage before having a valuation.
Poulter said: “If the homeowner is aware of an underlying issue, they have to declare it and so does the estate agent. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to issues. It’s also important to disclose any issue surrounding the property, such as a problem neighbour.”
Taylor said: “A good agent will give you specific advice on what could make a difference for potential purchasers. Their bespoke, expert advice will ensure you get the highest valuation possible for your property.”
House prices across Britain have climbed by 1.3 per cent in January, with most regions enjoying an increase in house rates on last year.
Halifax has its latest house price index, indicating that house prices grew for the fourth month in a row across different regions.
The figures suggest the housing market is on the road to recovery following a drop in mortgage rates.
The typical UK Home now costs £291,029, marking an increase of £3,900 over last month, Halifax reports.
House prices across the United Kingdom have risen by 1.3%
Scotland and Wales both saw growth of +4 per cent on an annual basis to £206,087 and £219,609 respectively.
London retained the top spot for the highest average house price across all regions, at £529,528. Albeit, prices in the capital have dropped by -0.4 per cent on an annual basis.
The South East has seen the most downward pressure on house prices, with a -2.3 per cent drop in rates recorded in the past year.
Nations and regions house prices:
- Northern Ireland £196,760 (+5.3%)
- Scotland £206,087 (+4%)
- Wales £219,609 (+4%)
- The South East £379,220 (-2.3%)
- London £529,528 (-0.4%)
Kim Kinnair, Director of Halifax Mortgages said: “The average hour price in January was £391,029, up to +1.3 per cent or, in cash terms, £3,924 compared to December 2023.
“This is the fourth consecutive month that house prices have risen and, as a result, the pace of annual growth is now +2.5 per cent, the highest rate since January last year.”
Lenders slashing mortgage rates could continue to fuel an upward trend in home rates, explained Kinnair.
She continued: “The recent reduction of mortgage rates from lenders and competition picks up, alongside fading inflationary pressure and a still-resilient labour market has contributed to increased confidence among buyers and sellers.
The average house price in London has dropped over the past year
“However, while housing activity has increased over recent months, interest rates remain elevated compared to the historic lows seen in recent years and demand continues to exceed supply.”
For those looking to buy a first home, the average deposit raised £53,414, around 19 per cent of the purchase price.
“It’s not surprising that almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of new buyers getting a foot on the ladder, is now buyer in joint names,” pointed out Kinnair.
“Looking ahead, affordability challenges are likely to remain and further modest falls should not be ruled out, against a backdrop of broader uncertainty in the economic environment.”
In a recent analysis conducted by the Njuškalo online advertisement website, it has been revealed that house prices across Croatia experienced a continuous upward trajectory throughout 2023. The study showcased a significant surge, with the average asking price for flats soaring by 21%, reaching €3,223 per square metre. House prices experienced an even more substantial increase, rising by 40% to €2,606.
Dubrovnik and Istria Counties: Pinnacles of Property Rates
The coastal regions of Istria, Dubrovnik-Neretva, and Split-Dalmatia emerged as the epicentres of the escalating property market, with these areas commanding the highest prices. In Istria County, the average asking price for a flat reached €3,836 per square metre, and for a house, it was €3,183 per square metre. The Dubrovnik-Neretva County followed closely, with figures at €3,602 and €2,699, respectively. In Split-Dalmatia County, the corresponding prices stood at €3,590 and €2,960.
In the capital city, Zagreb, the average asking price for a flat reached €2,987 per square metre, while for a house, it was €1,795. Rijeka experienced a 26% increase in flat prices, reaching an average of €2,661 per square metre. Split witnessed a 20% surge, with flats commanding an average of €4,061 per square metre. Meanwhile, Osijek saw a 17% rise, with an average asking price of €1,733 per square metre.
Osijek Leads House Price Surge
Osijek, located in the eastern part of the country, recorded the most substantial increase in house prices, jumping by 15% to an average of €963 per square metre.
The findings point towards a dynamic real estate market in Croatia, with certain regions, particularly Dubrovnik-Neretva and Istria, standing out as hotspots for property investments.