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Research reveals buyers taking 23% longer to decide than in January 2016

New research suggests that the time it takes to buy a home in the UK has increased by 23% since January 2016, and uncertainty over Brexit may have contributed to the change.

Research carried out by hybrid estate agent at the beginning of 2016 shows that the average buyer took 53 minutes during the viewing process to decide to if a house was the one for them, with 53% deciding after two viewings.

Now its latest study shows that buyers are now taking 23% longer when viewing before committing to a sale at 65 minutes. This amounts to 27 minutes during each viewing returning for an average of 2.4 viewings.

Buyers in Northern Ireland take the longest at 78 minutes, followed by the North West at 77 minutes and East Anglia at 70 minutes while the shortest time is in Scotland where it is 55 minutes, the only part of the country where it takes under an hour.

Despite London being worst hit by Brexit uncertainty a restriction in the number of homes available is still seeing viewers submit an offer in 62 minutes, the third fastest of all regions.

While the majority, 56%, still take just two viewings before submitting an offer, 27% of those asked viewed three times, 8% returned for a fourth and just 1% needed more than four viewings. Some 7% of those asked said they would submit an offer after just one viewing.

The research identified that the sweet spot when viewing is 21 to 30 minutes with 39% of home buyers taking this long while 24% take slightly less time at 11 to 20 minutes, with 20% taking between 31 and 40 minutes.

It also found that 5% said that they take just five to 10 minutes for a viewing while 7% take 41 to 50 minutes and 51 to 59 minutes. Just 1% of viewers would take longer than an hour at a property.

‘While the UK property market remains broadly stable, a slowdown in the time taken during the viewing process echoes trends in other stages of the selling process, such as an increase in the time houses are remaining on the property portals, a slowdown in the rate of price growth and a marginal fall in the number of transactions,’ said Russell Quirk, Emoov chief executive officer.

‘There is still an imbalance in the stock available to meet demand but, with many buyers treading cautiously, there isn’t the urgency to submit an offer that we’ve seen in previous years,’ he pointed out.

‘As a result, many are understandably taking that little while longer to ensure it’s the right house for them before making a commitment and this has pushed up the average time to buy since the Brexit vote,’ he concluded.