One in seven of all properties for sale in the UK have been on the market for six months or longer - but in some areas, even more properties languish on the market for far too long. A study has revealed the areas in the UK where it's hardest to sell your home at the moment.
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According to online estate agents housesimple.com, the slowest-moving property markets are in Wolverhampton, Liverpool and Bradford - where a quarter of all homes for sale have been on the market for longer than six months.
Meanwhile 15% of properties for sale in Sunderland, and 10% of those in Wolverhampton and Bradford have been on the market for a year or more.
The slowest property markets in the UK
Wolverhampton 26.1% (10.7% for more than a year)
Liverpool 25.7% (8.1% for more than a year)
Bradford 25.1% (10.2% for more than a year)
Middlesbrough 23.9% (9.2% for more than a year)
Bolton 22.2% (7.9% for more than a year)
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 21.1% (7.7% for more than a year)
Huddersfield 20.5% (7.3% for more than a year)
Walsall 18.4% (7.7% for more than a year)
Bournemouth 17.4% (7.4% for more than a year)
Sunderland 17.2% (14.9% for more than a year)
In London, 14% of properties have been on the market for six months or longer, with four boroughs; Tower Hamlets (21.5%), City of Westminster (22.6%), Southwark (20.2%) and Newham (20.7%), struggling to shift a fifth of their property stock more than six months after it was initially listed.
The research also identified the properties that had been on the market for the longest overall. The most shocking results were the flat in Bolton, which first went on the market in December 2008, and the property in Bradford that has been hanging around since October 2009. Several areas have had a property on the market since 2010 - including Wolverhampton, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, and the City of Westminster.
Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com comments: "There could be a number of reasons why properties aren't selling in these towns. Prices may be too high or being over-valued. It could be the quality of properties coming on the market that are not attracting buyers. Or it could simply be that buyers aren't committing and even if properties are reasonably priced, they are willing to wait to find the right house at the right price."
What can you do?
If your property isn't selling, it's important to work out why. Gosling highlights the importance of pricing the property sensibly. He says: "You don't have to offer it at a discount, but If you price too high for the area your home won't sell even if it's an exceptional property. It's very easy now for potential buyers to check sold prices along streets to see if a property is over-priced."
It's worth searching for similar properties in the area to check whether yours will be the priciest of its type. It's also important to check what else is on the market for the same price, and consider whether they are a sensible equivalent - or whether buyers are more likely to opt for the competition.
If there is a lot of work to do on the property, it might be putting buyers off. There's a real risk that huge projects linger for months waiting for someone willing to tackle them. If you want to speed up the process, you may need to either consider doing the work yourself - and recouping the cost from the sale - or going to auction. This is where a number of project-hunters focus their search, and if the reserve price is realistic, you are likely to find a buyer in a fraction of the time.
If buyers are worried about committing, then one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is negotiation. If a buyer thinks they are getting a bargain, then they will be far more willing to commit, even if they are worried about what will happen next in the property market. They will reason that they have negotiated a margin of safety to protect them in a falling market.
For the sake of knocking a few thousands of pounds off the asking price, you could save weeks, months, or even years of waiting for the property to sell so you can move on.