Why properties are taking longer to sell in the UK
The statistics on how long it takes a property to sell are varied. Last year, the BBC suggested homes in cities and major towns were on the market for an average of 102 days. That’s over six days longer than in the previous year, 2017. Newer figures from 2019 suggest the average time a house stays on the market is around 17 weeks, a roughly 20 per cent increase on 2018. But these figures don’t include another crucial aspect – what about the properties that do not sell?
Why are houses taking longer to sell?
It seems the average time to sell a home is on the rise. If you’re looking for a reason, you could turn your attention to Brexit. Many believe Brexit is leading to different consumer behaviour in the property market as well as changing the way international investment plays out.
We won’t know what these effects are until Brexit happens. Currently, we’re set to leave the EU on 31st October. But, a variety of indicators help us understand the interaction between the looming threat of Brexit and property market trends.
Mortgage lending is down, likely because of limited customer purchasing power and high interest. But there also seems to be a lack of consumer confidence in the lead up to Brexit, not knowing whether properties will retain their value in the near future. People are buying property more cautiously, likely because there are unknown changes on the horizon, and buyers are subject to increasing taxes from the government.
As house prices continue to grow, the number of people who can afford to purchase a house is falling. The average house price is eight times the average household annual income. Those who can afford to purchase property might be wary of spending such a huge sum of money. It’s not surprising that sales are progressing slowly.
What does this mean for agents?
As people become more reluctant spenders, it will be harder to close a deal. You’ll really need to step your game up and collaborate with others in the sector to be sure you can get the properties moving. But, with longer listing times, you’re also going to need to stay organised and on top of all your listings, clients, and enquiries which will probably go on for months. This will help you provide better customer service and separate yourself from other commercial agents who do not adapt.
Automation will help with this, as will introducing new software to aid collaboration, communication, and lead generation. This is the simplest and most cost-effective way to improve your efficiency and productivity as it becomes harder to be an agent.
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