Properties now taking seven months to sell, warns Rightmove

Despite a surge in asking prices driven by pent-up demand and a strong Spring season, selling still takes seven months between listing and completion.

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Vendors hoping to sell their home before Christmas should instruct an agent now as the average time between listing and completion for properties takes a whopping seven months, Rightmove’d House Price Index reveals today.

Average prices of property coming to the market for sale reached a record of £375,131, rising by 0.8% (+£2,807), driven by the top-of-the-ladder sector with average prices up by 1.3% compared with last year.

Graph showing change in monthly asking prices May 2024. properties

The number of sales being agreed during the first four months of the year is 17% higher than last year, outstripping the 12% increase in the number of new sellers coming to market.

But despite a surge in asking prices driven by pent-up demand and a strong Spring selling season it still takes over seven months from a seller coming to market to completing their move meaning would-be sellers hoping to celebrate Christmas in a new home need to be coming to the market now.

MPs are currently reviewing the sluggish completion process in England and Wales as part of their inquiry into improving the home buying and selling process.


The creation of a more seamless process, which includes providing more accurate information about a home earlier to potential buyers, and better connecting the parties involved in the transacting process through technology, are two areas Rightmove reckons would be most beneficial to movers.

Tim Bannister
Tim Bannister, Director of Property Science, Rightmove

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, says: “The momentum of the Spring selling season has exerted enough upwards price pressure to reach a new record asking price.”

But he adds: “The extremely lengthy legal completion process is a frustrating barrier to home-movers converting agreed sales into completed transactions more quickly.

“It may seem surreal to be thinking about Christmas in May, but we know that many would-be sellers picture celebrating the festivities in a new home, and to achieve that, now is the time to be coming to market.”

Dan Salmons, Coadjute
Dan Salmons, Chief Executive, Coadjute

Dan Salmons, Chief Executive, Coadjute, says: “Whilst long completion times have been a fact of life for years, it remains painful for home-movers, and we see it as something technology can and will solve.”

He adds: “At the heart of it, the delays are caused by problems of communication and the difficulty in rapidly obtaining accurate data in a secure way. There’s certainly a lot of progress that can be made, and whilst there’s no silver bullet, we hope to eventually see some dramatic improvements in the current time to complete.”

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Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, says: “The message here is that lifestyle changes and supply are still the dominating market forces for most, anchoring house prices for the foreseeable future to provide much needed stability and assurance.

“The more positive macro-economic outlook in recent weeks has even led some to revise house price forecasts for the year upwards from decline to growth; consumer confidence that will likely trickle into a busy summer ahead.”

These latest figures may prove an ideal inspiration for sellers to use this as an opportunity to place their property on the market.”

Nathan Emerson, Chief Executive, Propertymark

Nathan Emerson, Chief Executive of Propertymark, adds: “Spring heading into summer is traditionally a busy time for the housing market and these latest figures may prove an ideal inspiration for sellers to use this as an opportunity to place their property on the market.

“Buyers and sellers are adapting to current inflation levels and higher interest rates, however the more these two factors come downward, the more likely that there will be a further stimulation in housing market growth.

“With supply still being a central issue, with a general election on the horizon we hope all political parties focus on increasing the number of houses in the medium to long term.”

Matt Thompson, Chestertons
Matt Thompson, Head of Sales, Chestertons

And Matt Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, says: “As an increasing number of lenders are now cutting mortgage rates, buyers feel slightly more confident about their financing options.

“We expect this shift in the market to fuel buyer demand this summer – particularly in London where the volume of buyers still outweighs the number of available properties.”


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