Sell My House Fast
How It Works

What Is the Average Time to Sell a House in the UK 2024

dog looking out of window waiting

Exploring the average time to sell a house, the timeline for selling a house and what to do when your house is stuck on the market…

When starting on the journey of selling your house, especially on the open market, you may find yourself navigating a process that is not only time-consuming but also filled with uncertainties. Most housesellers have two main priorities - price and speed. In an ideal world, all houses would sell at a high price at a fast speed, but this isn’t a reality…

So, how long does a house take to sell? What’s the average time to sell a house? Is there a way you can speed this up, whilst also not selling at a really low price?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re seeking answers and perhaps feeling the weight of potential delays. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into all things house sales, exploring the reasons behind extended sale durations and offer strategies for you to speed up your house sale. 

Whether your property has been lingering on the market for months or you’re just beginning to consider selling, our insights aim to alleviate the stress and confusion commonly associated with this process. 

Ready to dive straight in? Use the menu below to help you get around:

We'll buy any house in the UK

What is the average time to sell a house?

When evaluating the UK housing market, one of the key metrics to consider is the average time house on market. This metric offers insight into how quickly homes are selling in a particular area and can be a strong indicator of market health. In a robust market, you’ll usually see a shorter average time, suggesting a stronger buying demand and favourable market conditions. 

The average time to sell a house or flat is influenced by various factors, including location, property types and prevailing market conditions. These elements combine to determine the pace at which a property moves from listing to completing. 

According to The Advisory, the average time to sell a house, considering all market conditions is around 129 days. However it’s important to recognise that this figure is a broad average and can vary depending on specific circumstances. 

However, recent data from Statista shows that in England, the average time to sell a house differed between 62 days in the North East, and 78 days in London.

The conclusion of the Stamp Duty holiday has already impacted the housing market. The holiday, which made home buying more affordable, resulted in a mini boom in the housing market starting from its introduction in July 2020. 

This surge in activity was driven by taking advantage of the reduced costs associated with buying a home. The Stamp Duty Holiday effectively pulled forward demand, leading many who were considering moving to take action during this period. 

With the end of the Stamp Duty holiday, purchasing a home became more expensive again. This change affected buyer behaviour and extended the average time it takes to sell a house.

Additionally, the mini boom created by the Stamp Duty holiday also means that many potential buyers have already made their moves. This shift has resulted in a decreased demand in the short term, and lengthened the average time required to sell a property. 

The time on market is evident in the London housing market, where house prices have begun to drop for the first time since before the pandemic struck.

We'll buy your property all year round

Is 3 months a long time for a house to be on the market?

In light of the average selling time of 129 days for a house, a 3-month listing period isn’t exceptionally long. However the perception of whether this duration is lengthy depends heavily on current market conditions. 

Understanding the average time house on market for sellers, can help them set realistic expectations for their sale timeline. For instance, houses in sought after neighbourhoods or in areas with strong economic growth may have significantly shorter average time on market compared to those in less desirable locations. 

Firstly, you will need to compare your property’s time on the market with similar local listings. If other houses in your area are selling rapidly, say within a few weeks, and yours remains unsold after 3 months, this could indicate an issue. It’s important to analyse why your property isn’t attracting buyer interest at the same rate. 

Luckily, there are several reasons which could contribute to a prolonged time on the market, including:

  • Overpricing.

  • The property’s condition.

  • Ineffective marketing strategies. 

It’s also beneficial to review feedback from showings, as this can provide valuable insights into potential deterrents for buyers. 

Market conditions can also play a role in determining how long a house remains unsold. In a buyer’s market, where supply exceeds demand, longer sale times are common. Conversely in a seller’s market, properties often sell more quickly. 

If your house has been on the market for 3 months or longer, especially if it exceeds the average sale time in your area, it’s advisable to take proactive steps. This could include consulting with your estate agent to improve your marketing strategy, changing estate agents, trying an auction site or even using a cash buyer like us!

What is the average time to sell a house by region?

The housing market in the UK exhibits significant regional differences, with the average time to sell a house differing significantly across different areas. As per the latest data from Statista in 2024, here is a detailed look at these regional differences:

Wales: 80 days

  • The market in Wales shows a relatively longer average home sale time, which could be attributed to specific local economic factors, rural property characteristics, or buyer preferences in the region.

London: 78 days

  • Surprisingly, London, despite its status as a bustling metropolis, has an average property sale time slightly longer than other regions. This may reflect the high property values in the capital, which can limit the pool of potential buyers.

East Midlands: 77 days

  • In the East Midlands, the average home sale time is marginally quicker than in London. This region's balance of urban and rural areas, combined with more moderate pricing, could contribute to this timeframe.

South East: 75 days

  • The South East, known for its commuter towns and proximity to London, shows a robust property market with a slightly quicker sale time. The demand in this region is likely driven by its accessibility and desirable location.

East of England: 75 days

  • Matching the South East, the East of England also averages 75 days for a house sale. This region's appeal is bolstered by its blend of picturesque countryside and vibrant cities like Cambridge and Norwich.

South West: 74 days

  • The South West, with its attractive coastal towns and rural charm, sees a slightly quicker sale time. The region's lifestyle appeal might be a driving factor behind this trend.

Yorkshire and the Humber: 71 days

  • Yorkshire and the Humber, with diverse property types and prices, records an average sale time of 71 days. The region's affordability compared to the South might contribute to its quicker sales.

West Midlands: 71 days

  • The West Midlands, encompassing Birmingham and other major cities, also shows an average of 71 days to sell a house. The region's economic growth and urban regeneration projects might be influencing factors.

North West: 69 days

  • In the North West, the average time drops to 69 days. Cities like Manchester and Liverpool, with their growing economies and vibrant cultural scenes, likely contribute to this more dynamic market.

North East: 62 days

  • Leading the way with the shortest average house sale time is the North East at 62 days. This could be due to a combination of affordable housing prices, increasing investment in the area, and an attractive lifestyle balance.

We'll buy your house in the uk

How long does it take to sell a house?

When pondering the question ‘how long does it take to sell a house?’ homeowners must consider various factors that impact the sale process.

The length of time taken to sell a house will be dependent upon your selling situation. There are many different factors affecting the amount of time it will take to sell a house, for example, the state of the property market, the type of buyer you’re looking for and your property type.

On average, the average home sale time can span anywhere from 4 to 6 months. In a thriving, ‘hot’ market, sales may conclude closer to 4 months, whereas in a slower ‘cold’ market, it could extend beyond 6 months. 

To get a better idea of the breakdown of the length of time taken for each stage, we’ve broken down the timeline for selling a house.

The timeline for how long it takes to sell a house

The timeframe for selling a house can vary depending on several factors. Key influencers include the state of the housing market, the type of buyer you’re targeting and the specific characteristics of your property. If you’re selling on the open market, then it can take between 16 weeks to 34 weeks. 

To provide a clearer understanding, let’s break down the usual timeline for selling a house on the open market:

1. Choosing an Estate Agent: A Few Weeks

The first step involves selecting an estate agent who can effectively showcase your house to potential buyers. It's wise to consider multiple agents, allowing for a range of valuations and approaches.

Once you've chosen an agent and signed a contract, you can proceed with getting photographs, floorplans, and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) prepared.

2. Viewings: 1 to 14 Weeks 

The duration of this stage is highly variable. The Advisory suggests it could take up to 14 weeks to receive an acceptable offer, with this timeframe potentially increasing in a cold market.

Remember, each property and market condition is unique, so this stage can be unpredictable.

3. Accepting an Offer to Property Searches: 5 weeks

After accepting an offer, the next phase is the conveyancing process. This begins with the buyer's solicitor conducting property searches.

This stage can be a tipping point; if issues arise from the searches, the buyer might renegotiate or withdraw.

4. Searches to Exchange: Around 8 Weeks

Once searches are initiated, it typically takes up to 8 weeks to complete them and prepare for the exchange of contracts.

The exchange of contracts is a critical juncture where the deal becomes legally binding. 

Delays or attempts at gazundering (buyer lowering the offer just before exchange) can occur, potentially jeopardising the sale.

5. Exchange to Completion: 2 to 4 Weeks

After the exchange, the focus shifts to packing and preparing for the completion day. The duration of this phase is negotiable between you and the buyer, ranging from a week to a month.

On completion day, you'll receive the sale proceeds (after deducting fees) and hand over the keys.

It's important to note that these timelines are average estimates and can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances.

Additionally, for those needing a quicker sale, alternative routes such as selling to cash buyers or through specialist companies can significantly speed up the process. These options often bypass many of the conventional stages, offering a more expedient resolution, sometimes within weeks.

We'll buy your property all year round

Why do house sales not sell?

The query, ‘How long does it take to sell a house?’ is often the first question sellers ask when preparing to list their property, and is very often the question they ask themselves when the house has been on the market for longer than 3 months. 

While the property market in 2024 has rebounded in many ways, it’s important to recognise the last impacts of past policies and ongoing challenges, here are a few reasons why house sales are taking so long:

The enduring impact of COVID-19

As we navigate through 2024, the housing market continues to grapple with the enduring impacts of the past few years. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions brought a collective sigh of relief and a sense of moving forward. However, the property market is still contending with the reverberations of these unprecedented times.

The ‘Stamp Duty Holiday’, introduced after the initial lockdown in March 2020, was a pivotal measure. It aimed to reinvigorate the housing market and by extension, boost the economy. This policy exempted buyers of houses valued up to £500,000 from paying Stamp Duty tax, incentivising a surge in house sales. 

Many individuals, previously undecided, leaped at the opportunity to move, capitalising on the significant tax savings.

The backlog challenge

While this stimulus appeared beneficial in the short term, particularly as the economy reeled from widespread shutdowns, it wasn’t without its drawbacks. The sudden influx of transactions overwhelmed estate agents, solicitors, surveyors and all professionals involved in property exchanges. This surge resulted in a substantial backlog, extending the duration of house sales on the open market. 

Data from ‘GetAgent’ revealed that, even after the conclusion of the Stamp Duty Holiday, the process remained protracted. It took an average of 118 days to secure an offer on a property and an additional 156 days to complete the sale. These figures underscore the profound and lingering effects of the tax relief initiative. 

Furthermore, COVID-19 continues to exert influence on the sector. Workforce reductions due to infections and the persistence of remote working arrangements hinder operational efficiency. Remote working, while beneficial in many aspects, often limits access to necessary documents and software, further delaying transaction processes. 

The situation elucidates why, despite the relaxation of restrictions and a general momentum towards normalcy, COVID-19’s shadow still looms over the property market, prolonging the duration of house sales.

Other than current market factors, here are some other reasons why your house is not selling on the open market:

Price too high

One thing an estate agent tends to do is overvalue your house, just so you choose to sell your house with them. This will then mean the asking price for your house is way too high, leading to minimal interest from potential buyers. As a result of the price being way too high, your house will likely take longer to sell than the average time to sell a house.

Your property’s location & size

Some areas will be more desirable than others and so this will impact how quickly your property is snapped up. Naturally everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to the size of a property, so it will just be a matter of waiting for the person wanting your property size to come along.

Poor condition

A house in a poor condition is one which looks uncared for and will not give off a good impression to a buyer. Even if you’ve taken into account your house needing a new kitchen or bathrooms in your pricing, a lot of buyers still don’t want to have to go through the stress of this work, making your house less appealing, meaning it takes longer to sell than the average time to sell a house.

Poor market conditions

In a hot market, houses can seem like they’re selling in seconds. But in poor market conditions, the average time to sell a house becomes a lot longer, with there not being enough potential buyers on the market. Whilst you can’t change the market conditions, a good estate agent should be able to get you over the line, it may just take a little longer than you want.

Poor marketing

When it comes to looking for a house, most people have an initial browse on the internet. This increases the importance of good photos and being on multiple property portals. It’s very possible that your house may take longer than the average time to sell a house if your estate agent hasn’t marketed it very well – something you should look to improve ASAP!

The type of buyer

If you have a buyer who requires a mortgage to buy your house, this will cause delays to your property’s length of sale, compared to selling to a cash buyer.

Wrong time of year

This sort of links in with poor market conditions, but there are certain times of year which are going to be worse for selling your property. For example, if you’re trying to sell your property during the summer or Christmas holidays, you may find your property sticks on the market, as everyone’s mind will be in ‘holiday zone’.

Property is ‘quirky’

If your property doesn’t have a ‘typical’ look and could be described as a little ‘different’, then this may be a reason your house isn’t selling. Due to your property’s quirky nature, it will be harder to find someone who’s looking for your exact property type, meaning it will likely take longer to sell than the average time to sell a house.

Bad estate agent

You know the ones who they over promise and under deliver? That’s what we’re referring to by a bad estate agent. There’s nothing worse than an estate agent who promises you they can get your house sold in a matter of days or weeks and months down the line you’re still waiting for a successful viewing. 

You then put pressure on your estate agent, only for them to suggest maybe the price is too high, making you reduce the asking price, despite the fact they were the ones who suggested this price in the first place.

If you’re selling a house, this is probably a story you’re all too familiar with. In fact, maybe you’re reading this article because your house is taking longer than the average time to sell a house and you need to find out why and what you can do to make it sell faster.

Well, you’re in the right place! Instead of getting frustrated with your estate agent for not doing their job properly, you can cut the stress and just sell your house to us!

Are there any ways to speed up the process?

It’s important to note that these delays predominantly affect those selling their property through traditional open market channels.

Homeowners often find themselves asking, ‘How long does it take to sell a house?’ especially when they need to make a quick sale. In such cases exploring alternative selling methods, like auctioning or selling to a cash buyer might be advantageous. 

Transactions involving a cash buyer usually proceed more swiftly. Cash buyers equipped with readily available funds and often foregoing property surveys, simplify the process significantly. The reduced paperwork and elimination of mortgage-related delays all allow for a faster route to sale. 

Companies specialising in cash house buying, like ours, offer an even more streamlined approach. We are able to leverage relationships with surveyors and solicitors to speed up the process, often completing transactions within as little as a week from initiation.

Our efficiency stands in stark contrast to the protracted timelines experienced in conventional open market sales, offering a swift and practical solution in these still uncertain times.

we'll buy for cash in as little as 7 days

How long does a sale of a house take with no chain?

Selling a house without a property chain significantly accelerates the process. A ‘chain-free’ sale means you’re not waiting for the buyer to sell their property, nor are you dependent on selling yours to purchase a new one. This streamlined situation cuts down the wait time considerably.

What is the usual duration of a chain-free sale?

While the exact timeline can vary, sales in chain-free context can be remarkably fast. Solicitors and estate agents play an important role in determining the speed. In some cases, the entire process can be completed in as little as 10 days. However, such rapid completions are more the exception than the norm on the open market. 

A more realistic timeframe for a chain-free house sale is around 6 weeks. This period allows sufficient time for all necessary legal checks, paperwork and finalisations without the delays usually introduced by a property chain. 

Why are chain-free sales attractive?

The appeal of a chain free sale lies in its simplicity and speed. In the absence of a property chain, transactions are more straightforward, with fewer parties and variables to coordinate. This simplicity reduces the likelihood of delays and complications, making the selling process more predictable and stress-free. 

What is the cash buying option?

Opting for a sale through a cash buying company can further speed up the process. Companies like ours specialise in quick purchases and can complete transactions in as little as 7 days. 

This efficiency is possible because cash buyers eliminate many of the steps involved in traditional property sales, such as waiting for mortgage approvals or dealing with property chains. 

The flexibility offered by cash buying companies also stands out. You can choose a timeline that best fits your needs, whether that’s the ultra fast 7 day turnaround or a slightly longer period for added convenience.

House not selling? We'll buy your house

How can I speed up the sale of my house?

If you’ve been stuck on the open market and you’re starting to think to yourself ‘How long does it take to sell a house’, then the good news is we have some top tips on what you can do to help you speed up your sale:

Choosing the right estate agent

Selecting a proactive estate agent is vital if you wish to sell on the open market. Ensure they understand your needs and are committed to providing you with a fast sale. A good estate agent coordinates efficiently with all parties involved - the buyer, their solicitor and yours - to ensure the process progresses smoothly and swiftly. 

Setting a fair price

Pricing your property correctly is also important. Overpricing can deter potential buyers, while underpricing might raise suspicions about the property’s condition. An accurately priced property is more likely to attract serious buyers and speed up the sale.

Optimal timing

Selling at the right time can make a significant difference. Spring often brings higher buyer activity, making it an ideal time to list your property. Additionally, selling in a seller’s market where demand outstrips supply, can also speed up the process.

Enhancing property appeal

Simple improvements can boost your house appeal. This could include decluttering, minor DIY fixes, or more substantial renovations. A well-presented house is more likely to attract buyers quickly. 

Opting for a cash buyer

Selling to a cash buyer simplifies and speeds up the process significantly. Cash buyers, usually chain-free, can bypass mortgage approvals and extensive searches, reducing the timeline drastically.

At The Property Buying Company, we offer a swift, hassle-free purchase experience. As cash buyers, we can tailor the completion timeline to your needs, whether it’s a week, a month, or longer. 

Our approach eliminates the need for you to handle all the complicated paperwork or incur legal fees – we take care of it all. Following a quick property evaluation, we provide you with an accurate cash offer. Once accepted the full amount is transferred directly to your bank.

As members of The Property Ombudsman and the National Association of Property Buyers, and with an ‘excellent’ rating on Trustpilot, we ensure a reliable and trustworthy service. 

Curious about how fast you can sell your house with us? Contact us for a no-obligation cash offer. Discover the ease and speed of selling your house to a reputable cash buyer and turn the question ‘How long does it take to sell a house?’ into a swift and satisfying reality.

Sell to a us for cash

Average time to sell a house FAQs

What is the best month to sell a house?

When deliberating over ‘How long does it take to sell a house?’ It's essential to factor in seasonal trends. The property market often experiences fluctuations throughout the year, with certain seasons like spring and early summer usually being more active. 

If you ask your local estate agent, they will tell you ‘Now is the best time to sell’ regardless of what time of year you’re asking this question. However, according to research by The Advisory, based on data from Rightmove, the best month to sell a house is March.

March, according to the data, took an average of 57 days for a house to go under offer. This time of year will be good for selling as few people will be away on a summer holiday, meaning people can focus on moving.

This time of year is also when the sun starts to come out for longer, helping to show your house in a better light, with your garden and plants starting to bloom.

Does an empty house sell faster?

A great question, one which you will need the answer to when wanting to sell your house faster than the average time to sell a house!

Whilst you may think that selling a house empty may be good to help a potential buyer visualise themselves in your house, as there’s none of your belongings so no personalisation from you, an empty house is also one which will struggle to hide any flaws.

An empty house can also very quickly look uncared for and start to feel cold and unloved, making it look less desirable to live in.

A furnished house allows potential buyers to get ideas for what they could do with the house, which is great for making them want to buy it. Having said this, an empty house shows viewers a blank canvas, meaning they can see all the space which they would have to work with.

Ultimately, whether your house will sell faster and empty, will rely a lot upon who the target audience is for your property. Establishing who the target audience is will help you to decide what their mindset is when looking for a property and will therefore help you decide whether they may be looking for a ‘project’, making an empty house more appealing, or a ‘finished product’, making a furnished house more appealing.

Do derelict houses sell faster?

While derelict houses can be an attractive investment for certain buyers like house flippers, they usually don’t sell as quickly as homes in better condition due to financing challenges, a limited buyer pool and the perceived risk associated with extensive renovations.

Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.