House sales take longest for three years as uncertainty hits housing market

The time it takes to sell properties in UK cities has hit a three-year high as Brexit uncertainty continues to strangle the housing market.

It is now taking sellers an average of more than 12 weeks to sell properties around the UK, compared to eight weeks in 2016, according to new data from Zoopla.

The Zoopla UK Cities House Price Index has highlighted that economic uncertainty has particularly weighed down on the London housing market.

Residential properties in the capital now take more than a month longer to sell than three years ago, as the average sales process takes roughly 14.5 weeks.

The monthly report also revealed that vendors across the UK are accepting offers from buyers that are an average of 3.8% or £9,800 lower than the initial asking price.

Negative sentiment means that sellers are typically accepting bids 5.7% below the asking price in London.

Elsewhere, housing market conditions also remain particularly weak in Oxford and Aberdeen, where sales processes also take more than 14 weeks.

Scotland continues to have the strongest housing market, with properties in Glasgow and Edinburgh being snapped up within five to six weeks on average.

These are the only cities in the UK where demand has been so positive that bidders are actually spending significantly higher than the typical asking price, with sales more than 6% higher than the target price on average.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “There is a continued polarisation in housing market conditions across the country set by underlying market fundamentals – albeit Brexit uncertainty has been a compounding factor for lower market activity in some areas.

“Market conditions are set to remain weak in southern cities until pricing levels adjust to what buyers are willing, or can afford, to pay.

“There are large parts of the country where housing affordability remains attractive, fuelled by continued economic growth that supports demand for homes, resulting in reasonable sales periods and only modest gaps between sales and asking prices.”

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