The Post Office’s ‘City Rate of Sale’ report found that London remains the best performing property market, but its performance overshadows a strong recovery occurring in many other areas, particularly cities outside the South East of England.
John Willcock, head of Post Office Mortgages, said: “2013 has been a real turning point in the UK housing market with annual house price growth currently 3.4%, the highest level it has been since November 2010.
“But house price data alone often hides a broader picture of recovery. This encouraging fall in the time it now takes to sell a property, especially in areas where house prices have long remained sluggish, shows that real confidence is returning to housing markets in many cities across the UK.”
Property owners in Birmingham especially have been benefiting from improved market conditions. Over the last year they have experienced on average a 16% fall in the time it takes to sell their home and a 2.6% rise in price.
Some Northern cities such as Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester are also showing signs of improvement despite slow price growth.
The average time a property spends on the market in the North West for example has fallen from 90 days to 62 days over the last 12 months – indicating that demand for homes in this region is firming.
Liverpool in particular is recovering well, with properties in this part of the country currently only needing an average of 18 days to be sold – down a whopping 63% from last year and a whole two weeks less than London.
Elsewhere in England, cities including Plymouth, Brighton, Bristol and Derby, have seen falls greater than 15% in their rate of sale.
Even though some of these markets have not yet seen robust price growth, the falling average time to sell a property in these markets points to improving conditions.
However a number of cities have yet to show signs of a rebound in their housing markets. Swansea and Leicester for instance are both experiencing the double whammy of negative price growth and a lengthening of time it takes to sell a property.
The outlook for Hull is particularly gloomy. Over the last year homeowners in the city have experienced a 2% decrease in property prices and a staggering 240% rise in the time it takes to sell.
It now takes homeowners in Hull a full 80 days more to sell a property than homeowners in London - nearly a quarter of a year.