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Average length of time to sell a home increases slightly

Zoopla said the South West, including Exeter, is the fastest-moving property market (PA)
Zoopla said the South West, including Exeter, is the fastest-moving property market (PA)

The average length of time it takes to sell a home is increasing, in further signs that the housing market is starting to soften slightly.

Property website Zoopla said across the UK, the average time between a home being listed and a sale being agreed was 22 days in May, up from an average of 20 days in March.

It identified the South West of England as the fastest-moving market, with the average time between listing and agreeing a sale standing at 19 days.

This reflects the high levels of demand in the South West since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as some buyers make a move to prioritise access to rural and coastal settings, Zoopla said.

Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Plymouth, Swindon and Exeter are particularly fast-moving markets, it added.

At the other end of the spectrum, homes in London are staying on the market longest typically, with 35 days between a listing and an agreed sale.

The average time taken from searching for a home to exchange, at which point the buyer can move in, is around five and-a-half months, Zoopla said.

This indicates that buyers hoping to make a move by Christmas may need to be thinking about sealing a deal around now.

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said: “Mortgage rates are likely to continue to climb so locking into a rate shortly could save hundreds over the longer-term.

“There are many factors supporting the price growth seen since the start of the pandemic, not least the continued imbalance between demand and supply, but the increasing cost of living, increasing mortgage rates for buyers and cloudier economic outlook will act as a brake on house price growth through the rest of the year.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of estate agent Jackson-Stops, said: “It’s unsurprising to see the South West market going against the cooling tide.

“Our Exeter office saw a near 40% uplift in buyer inquiries in May, heavily outpacing the level of instructions there. This allowed some sellers to be more bullish in their requests – pushing up competitive bids and testing the agility of buyers for a quick move.”

Nationwide Building Society reported on Thursday that the average UK house price hit a new record high in June, but there are “tentative signs of a slowdown”.

Prices were up by 10.7% in June, slowing from 11.2% in May, Nationwide said.

Across the UK, the average house price in June was £271,613, up by 0.3% month-on-month, according to its figures.

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