A staggering 30% of Sunderland properties currently for sale have been on the market for six months or longer, according to research conducted by HouseSimple.
The online estate agents revealed that the slowest activity in the UK property market is in Sunderland, with 28.5% of properties listed at least six months ago, and 14.3% of properties having been on the market for at least a year – four times the UK average.
Liverpool (24.8%), Bradford (19.8%), Middlesbrough (19.8%) and Newcastle (18.6%) were not too far behind in terms of how long properties remained unsold – making up the five slowest property markets in the UK.
HouseSimple explored 50 major UK towns and cities and found that 12.5% of property listings were at least six months old, with the slowest moving markets in the north of England. The south of the country, however, did not appear in the top 10.
Alex Gosling, chief executive of HouseSimple, says, however, that the length of time properties are taking to sell is gradually dropping. “Eight months ago, when we carried out the same research, 13% of properties had been on the market at least six months. That figure has now fallen to 12.5%,” he said.
Belfast was at the top of the list for having the fastest moving property market, with 1.9% of properties listed for at least six months, closely followed by Northampton (3.0%) and Reading (3.6%).
Property prices in London have been falling, along with the percentage of properties remaining on the market after six months. Some 13.8% of properties across London still remained unsold in March, but the figure dropped to 12% in October.
However, fluidity of the market has led to a discrepancy between boroughs. The City of Westminster has 22.5% of properties listed for sale that were initially marketed at least six months ago, compared to just 0.6% in Waltham Forest.
This could be due to the fact that average property prices in the City of Westminster are considerably higher than Waltham Forest. There are also few buyers as a result of stamp duty changes hitting the top end of the market.
Gosling said it would be ‘foolhardy’ to claim the market has improved. Sellers in London have recognised that they need to be more flexible on prices if they are to secure a sale.
He continued: “No one knows what is around the corner and there will be sellers who are keen to secure a sale while the market remains reasonably stable and are willing to negotiate with buyers who are in a position to proceed.”