We look at the average amount of time it takes for a house sale to go through from start to finish. For this, we use two main data sources:
Rightmove – the UK’s most popular property portal with approximately 200,000 listings at any one time. Alongside Zoopla, it’s the go-to point for people looking to buy homes or just see what’s happening in the market.
HM Land Registry – one of the oldest registries of property and land in the world, conveyancing solicitors are legally obliged to submit confirmation of when a house is sold. This makes it the most robust database of real house prices.
We have used these key data sources to confirm the number of weeks the sale takes from the property’s listing – i.e. the date a property goes live on the Rightmove website – to the point at which the property is officially sold.
It is during these weeks that the house sale goes through a range of processes from viewings / open days, negotiations and closing to the whole conveyancing process (survey, searches, enquiries, contract drafting, exchange) and finally completion…
It is worth observing that a longer sales period is not entirely attributable to estate agents. Especially in a chain sale situation, delays can happen during the conveyancing or survey process for example.
There are indeed buyers and sellers that agree to delay the sale’s completion – perhaps both are waiting for their own chains to complete or there is another reason both parties are comfortable with.
The Difference Between Asking and Selling Prices
It’s often assumed that the asking prices published on portals like Rightmove reflect what’s going on in the housing market. Yet, the real data shows that this isn’t strictly true…
Updated on a monthly basis, the Property Solvers market insights tool also shows the average difference between asking and sold prices over the last year in any given area.
We created this tool as a means of bringing a dose of realism into the marketplace and demonstrate that what estate agents often claim to be the ‘real’ value of a property is often exaggerated.
For example, when we discuss potential our express sale service with clients we always prioritise checking Land Registry-sourced data to see what properties have sold in the immediate vicinity.
We also look at specific differences like size, standard of finish, garden size and a number of other variables. Only then do we look at what’s selling on the open market, using tools like Property Log to see house price corrections.
Our post on house valuation contains a number of free tools to observe sales trends in your local area.
Of course, many homes sell for their asking price – which is a testament to the knowledgeable estate agents that understand how to price correctly.
Occasionally, properties also sell for more than they are advertised. For example, if the house is in a desirable area, the market is particularly buoyant or agents pitch the asking price low to drive demand, people are willing to bid over the odds.
If you notice there is a major difference between average asking and sold prices in your area, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should drop your price.
This tool is to merely guide you to the fact that prices are often overvalued, sometimes significantly. There’s also a lot to be said about pricing a property above the market value – for a bit of ‘wriggle’ room when it comes to negotiation.
Number of Properties Advertised
We aim to track as many possible properties as we possibly can in order to have a decent sample size.
However, whilst we’re confident that we are able to present the most comprehensive data available in the UK, it is worth taking note of the following:
There are some properties where the original listings are no longer on Rightmove’s database (meaning we cannot track the original asking price);
Land Registry data doesn’t include transactions such as sales of shared ownership or right-to-buy properties; transfer by way of gift or exchange; transfers of multiple properties as part of a portfolio (see all the exclusions here);
Not all cash, below market value and auction property sales are captured;
There are properties that go on and off the market. For example, sellers sometimes decide to lift the property from the market for a few months (or longer). In such cases, the actual time it takes for the property to sell is significantly higher;
Some areas the volume of sales is not as high meaning the sample can end being slightly skewed.
Earliest Listing Date
Appreciating that market winds can change within a short time frame, we always attempt to update the data over a 12-month period.
We feel this time period is sufficient to observe the short-term winds of change whilst avoiding the ‘forgotten’ properties that lay lingering on the market, sometimes for years which serve to negatively influence the data.
Similarly, properties that have been purchased with delayed completion have not been included.