Britain's fastest-moving homes


New analysis by Strutt & Parker reveals that the fastest-moving type of property in the UK is a semi-detached house, writes Edward Church.

Appealing to a range of buyers, from young families to empty-nesters, semi-detached homes take on average 53 days to go under offer, easily beating the national average of 59 days.

It’s an eye-catching finding, but the figure is a little misleading. Although semi-detached homes stay on the market for the shortest time, they are not the most sought-after type of property.

That title belongs to the detached house, which 45% of respondents to our 2016 Housing Futures survey named as the property they would most like to be living in within five years. They easily outperformed every other type – including semi-detached houses, which only appealed to 20% of people.

So, what’s going on? If detached houses are the UK’s most desired home, why does it take an average of 77 days for their sale to be agreed?

The simplest explanation is that they are the victims of their own success. Larger than other property types, and often with highly prized outside space, they attract a price premium among buyers, which inevitably slows down the transaction process.

In my experience, buyers also tend to take more time over the purchase of larger houses. These properties need to accommodate the different needs of adults, children and perhaps grandparents, which means that the right type of home has to be found for the unique requirements of each family.

From a seller’s point of view, the slower transaction times can simply be due to the individuality of many detached houses – especially if they are a historical property or have been personalised to the owner’s taste over time. These are homes with great character and it can take a little longer for the right seller to come along.

How quickly are sales agreed for different property types?

There is one more factor that has a significant effect on how quickly a property goes under offer: whether it has been given a realistic valuation.

This is less of an issue for semi-detached houses or flats, which tend to be more uniform and, as a result, are easier to value. It is also simpler for buyers and sellers to research prices for equivalent properties.

Detached homes tend to require a more bespoke approach. With fewer comparable prices available, this can lead to overvaluing by some agents, who are keen to secure the business. However, this can result in a slow sale, or none at all.

At Strutt & Parker, we believe that asking for an inflated price is not a good strategy and that the value should be guided by an expert understanding of the buyers who are active in the market.

People assume that purchasers want a bargain, but when it comes to detached houses, that isn’t the primary driving force. People choose to buy a house if they fall in love with it. And if they do, they are prepared to pay a good price.

Research based on the time taken from the first listing date on Rightmove to the date when the listing is marked as under offer/sold subject to contract by the agent, August 2016-July 2017

You may also like...