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Lockdown delays home sales by 20% in the UK

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Recent research by the UK’s leading estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, has found that lockdown has added an average of 25.7 days to the amount of time a property stays on the market. When comparing 2019 sales figures from March-July to 2020 figures covering the same period, GetAgent data shows that it took an average of 136 days to sell a home in 2019 compared to 2020 figures for March-July showing it takes 161 days, increasing by an average of over 3 weeks. 

In 2019, Edinburgh was one of the quickest places to sell a property in the UK with an average timeframe of 72 days, but when this is compared to March-July sales in 2020, this jumps up by nearly 43%. Those selling their home in the Scottish capital can now expect a 103 day wait before making a sale. 

The same can be said for the Eastern Central (EC) postcode region of London, which covers some of the most expensive postcodes in the UK such as Shoreditch, City of London, Islington and Camden. Homes in this region stayed on the market for 270 days on average throughout the March-July period in 2020, which is nearly a 34% increase from the year before, where homes in this prestigious region took 201 days before coming off the market. 

The third-largest increase in delays for home sales are properties within the Birmingham postcode area. Between March and July 2019, homes in this region took 102 days to sell; however the 2020 sales figures covering the same time period show a 47% increase, meaning those selling their homes in Birmingham now wait an average of 150 days to make a sale. Following the West Midlands city is Manchester, where home sales have been delayed by 38% longer, jumping from an average of 98 days between March-July 2019 to 136 days in 2020.

Colby Short, CEO of GetAgent said: “Undoubtedly we’re seeing the impact of the housing market freeze when it comes to transaction times. The almost complete stop of any transactions in March, and the resulting pent-up demand, has created huge pressure on the capacity of those whose job it is to progress sales to completion. But the market has proved remarkably resilient, and now we’re seeing efforts to streamline the process – for example with the Land Registry accepting e-signatures. Hopefully we’ll see some of these transaction times returning to normal again soon.”

In the South-West of the country, Bristol has seen a more than 20% increase in its timeframe to sell a property, increasing from an average of 97 days between March-July in 2019 to 117 days in 2020. In the South-East, there has been over a 22% increase in the length of time a home spent on the market in Reading; in 2019 homes sold in 114 days compared to 139 days in 2020, on average. Meanwhile, the Welsh capital of Cardiff has seen over a 18% increase, just below the UK-wide average delay, where homes now take 141 days to sell compared to 119 days between March-July in 2019. 

While the data makes it easy to see the overall impact on selling time, it is important to note that there is some variation when it comes to the size of the house. For example, a three bedroom house in Exeter sells seven times faster than a one-bed in 2020. However, the analysis is reflective of the housing market as a whole.

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