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Is now a good time to sell a house?

Jenni Hill
Last Updated 1 July 2024

There are now more homes for sale than at any point in the last eight years - almost a 20% increase from this time last year. So what does this mean for sellers? Is now a good time to sell a house? Find out in this guide.

In this guide

Is it a buyer's market right now in the UK?

Yes, right now it is a buyers’ market in many parts of the UK, due to the high number of properties currently up for sale. When there are lots of properties to choose from, buyers have a much wider choice and sellers tend to be more willing to accept a lower offer. This is especially true for sellers who’ve already found a home they’d like to buy and perhaps have made an offer and need to sell their home quickly. 

Mortgage rates dropped earlier this year which helped to boost market activity, but rates are still higher than they were a couple of years ago. This could make people more cautious about taking on larger mortgages, potentially making it a little bit harder for sellers with more expensive properties to find a suitable buyer. 

Many sellers have had to reduce the asking price of their property to find a buyer. At the end of 2023, half of the number of homes sold had a discount of 5% or more. While that figure has gone down to 40% of properties, this could increase as house prices adjust to the market.In fact, the latest estimates have deemed current house prices as overvalued by 8%, and are expected to see little growth for the rest of 2024 as house prices adjust to the market, playing to buyers’ advantage.

Why are houses not selling at the moment?

Many would-be buyers are struggling to get on the ladder at the moment due to higher mortgage rates, which is stretching affordability. With house prices currently 8% overvalued, many sellers have had to add a 5% or more discount to their property’s price to attract buyers. Because of this, it may take you a little longer to sell your home this year than it would have taken you last year, but that doesn’t mean houses aren’t selling. The most recent figures show that it’s taking 71 days to sell a home on average, while a year ago it was only 14 days. This is reflective of the difficulty some sellers are facing to find a willing buyer or find a buyer for the price they want to sell at.

Your property’s location can also influence its selling time. In some parts of Scotland, for example, it’s possible to sell a home in less than four weeks. According to Rightmove, Carluke, Falkirk and Larbert are the 3 fastest selling markets in Britain, where it takes 24, 26 and 27 days respectively to find a buyer. 

Meanwhile, sellers in Swanage, Dorset are waiting an average of 136 days to find a buyer, and those in St Ives, Cornwall are waiting 129 days.

Working with the right estate agent with an understanding of the local market can help to reduce the amount of time it takes to sell your home.

You might also like: Lewis’ home renovation tips

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Will house prices go up in 2024 in the UK?

So far in 2024 house prices have been pretty stagnant; the most recent figures show house prices in May 2024 were unchanged from 12 months ago, and are only expected to go up by 1.5% over the rest of the year. This is because house prices are currently overvalued by 8%, and because of this are expected to not go up much in 2024 as they adjust to reflect the market. There are some regional differences, however, While house prices across southern England have been dropping, house prices in the north and Northern Ireland have been rising, albeit moderately, by up to 3.3%.

House prices in the UK by region, June 2024. Source: Zoopla

House prices in the UK by region, June 2024. Source: Zoopla

What will happen to UK house prices in the next 5 years?

Although UK house prices are only expected to rise by 1.5% over the rest of the year, they could rise by an average of 22% over the next five years once we are past the short-term uncertainty caused by this year’s general election and easing of mortgage rates make it easier to afford a property purchase. GDP is expected to grow from 7.2% to 8.9% over the next five years, while wage growth is expected to rise from 15.8% to 16.4%. This combined with steady cuts to the Bank of England’s base rate should result in more buying power, giving a welcome boost to the property market.

This will of course depend on your specific location. The North West is expected to see the biggest increase with prices rising by 28.8%. Yorkshire and The Humber are next at 28.2%, followed by Wales at 26.4%. London finds itself at the bottom of the list, with a predicted increase of just 14.2% over the next five years.

Is now a good time to sell a house?

Although it may seem like now could be a difficult time to sell a home,  if you’d like to move then now could be a good time to sell your house. Although there are lots of properties on the market, if you price your home correctly you are likely to still find willing buyers. Plus, once the base rate is cut and mortgage interest rates come down, this will make it easier for buyers to get a mortgage and increase borrowing capacity.

When should I sell my house?

You should sell your house whenever the time is right for you. Although there are ‘peaks’ throughout the year when more people put their homes up for sale (namely the start of the year and autumn after the Summer holidays), you can choose to sell your home whenever you want. You might want to move house to be closer to good schools, for example. Or you might be changing jobs and need more space to use as a home office. Or perhaps you’ve got your sights set on a different location and a fresh start. 

You’ll also want to consider how much it’ll cost to sell your home, especially if you’re buying another property. For example, can you afford a mortgage on your new home? How much will the estate agent charge? If you currently have a fixed-rate mortgage, will you need to pay any early repayment fees for exiting the deal early? There’s no need to crunch the numbers alone. A mortgage broker can help you assess your affordability and find the right mortgage deal for you.

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