Homes, many in key British regional cities, now selling four weeks faster than in 2012

Residential properties in the UK are selling more quickly than they were five years ago, with the time from being put on the market to being under offer four weeks faster than in 2012.

The average time to sell is now 61 days compared to 87 days but the quickest sales are in Bristol with an average of just 34 days to sell, followed by Coventry at 35, Edinburgh at 36, Glasgow at 37 and Gloucester at 39.

The research from agents Strutt & Parker also shows that overall only three cities in the UK, Cambridge, Oxford and Aberdeen, now have slower property markets than in 2012.

The biggest difference in days to sell between 2012 and 2017 is in Glasgow where property now takes 56 fewer days until an offer is made, followed by Edinburgh where the difference is 53 days and then Salford with a difference of 52.

According to Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker, the cities where homes are selling faster are often those with universities which are able to attract highly qualified workers and offer a good quality of life which inevitably leads to increased demand from home buyers.

The market in some of these cities is so strong that it has created an elite group where property, on average, sells for 40 days or less and there are several cities that are now seen as alternatives to London as they offer career opportunities, a contemporary lifestyle and appeal to people who have been priced out of the capital’s housing market.

‘Bristol is the perfect example, it has a booming tech hub, a broad range of housing stock and a fashionable harbour area. It is also commutable to London. As technology allows for more flexible working, the ability to commute for two or three days a week to the capital is having a significant effect on regional markets,’ said James Mackenzie, head of country houses at Strutt & Parker.

He also pointed out that in many of the best performing regional cities there has been a surge in new homes, particularly apartments. ‘New home sales tend to move more quickly as there’s no upward chain and deals often have to be done within a certain time period. The legal turnaround is also quicker as the developer’s solicitors will have the whole package ready,’ he added.

McMahon also pointed out that cities such as Oxford and Cambridge have seen significant price growth of 25% and 36% respectively in the past five years and this affects affordability and, inevitably, means that it takes longer to sell a property.

While property sales in Scottish cities have been adversely affected by the independence referendum and volatility in oil prices in Aberdeen in particular, the speed of sales has risen so dramatically for Edinburgh and Glasgow that they are now third and fourth respectively in the overall UK rankings.