FOCUS ON: TIME TO SELL
One of the early trends to emerge as the housing market reopened has been the reassurance of the capital’s established suburban markets. They have long been a bellwether for the London market as a whole, and have been among the first places to see the largest uplift in buyer numbers over June and July. While many of London’s older suburbs are typically not as well connected to central London as neighbourhoods further in, over the last few months buyers have become less worried about transport links and more interested in the home itself.
With more time spent in the house, buyers have begun to revaluate what they want from where they live. And a garden, or at least access to a shared one, is increasingly near the top of buyers wish lists. Around half of homes sold in London so far this year have access to a garden, ranging from around a third in zone one to over three quarters in zone six. And in the months since lockdown began, a divide has emerged between the time to sell a home with and without a garden.
During July, homes with a garden in London sold 33 days faster than those without (across the UK it was 20 days). Last year, the gap was just 14 days in the capital. As the market adjusts to a new normal, this differential has grown to the widest it has been since records began. The desire for green space also translates beyond the time to sell and into what those sellers able to offer a garden can achieve. In the last month homes with a garden in the capital have realised 1.1% more of their initial asking price than those which do not – 99.6% against 98.5%.
This differential in the time taken to sell comes on the back of homes across London (and the rest of the country too) being on the market for longer as viewings were prohibited over lockdown. Homes sold as the market reopened had been up for sale for an average of 120 days, more than twice as long as the same time last year (although if the time spent locked down is excluded, the figure is comparable to July 2019). Subsequently time to sell has steadily declined throughout June and into July, in suburban outer London markets in particular, as buyers resumed their search in earnest.