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Will Santa be Bringing You a New House for Christmas? Unless You Were Under Offer in August, it's Unlikely!

Published by TwentyCi on 20th October 2021 -

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As we enter the last quarter of 2021, a year some would sooner forget, many thoughts turn to Christmas and what that might hold for us all this time around. We've also already seen the first stories of “when do you need to get your house on the market by to find a new home for Christmas?”. 

We hate to sound more like Scrooge than Santa, but sadly, if you're looking to be into a new home by Christmas, and still have a house to sell, I’m afraid that you’ve already missed the boat. 

Whilst it is true that homes are selling faster today, they are also taking significantly longer to complete, which we'll be examining closer in this piece. 

To be sure of being installed for Christmas, based on today’s timings, you'd have needed to be under offer in the second week of August.

Perhaps if you've missed this deadline, the best thing is to do is to enjoy the home you are already in. After all, the decorations are already up in the loft. Or maybe even splash out and get some new ones!

Property Market Definitions 

Before we continue, let's introduce some terminology...

  • Time to sell – means the time it takes to agree a sale on your house from listing it as for sale with an estate agent 
  • Time to complete – means the time it takes to legally complete a sale from a sale agreed to a completion (which for most people is the date that you move into your new home) 
  • Time to move – means the time it takes from listing your home for sale with an estate agent to moving into a new house 
  • Median – this is the middle value, where 50% of the cases will have a value below the median and 50% of the cases will have a value above the median 

With that out of the way, let's get on with the business of imparting insights. 

Time to Sell 

For sales that were agreed in September, the median time to sell across the whole of the United Kingdom was as low as 19 days. So, in other words, of sales that were agreed in September, half of them had a sale agreed inside 19 days of being on the market!  Wow! 

To give you some idea of how exceptional this is, the equivalent value across the whole of the last “normal” year of 2019 was 42 days. 

In theory, this means I can instruct an estate agent today (start of October 2021) and sell my property by mid-October. 

Time to Complete

For completions (home moves) that happened in September, the median time to complete across the whole of the United Kingdom was 123 days or 17.6 weeks.  In other words, of home moves in September, half of them took longer than 17.6 weeks to complete and half took less time. 

We can now see those visions of Santa turning into Scrooge before our very eyes – “come back Santa, please”. 

Again, to give you some idea of how exceptional this is, the equivalent value across the whole of the last “normal” year of 2019 was 94 days or 13.4 weeks. 

Now there may well be a very small number of people who list their property for sale today with an Estate Agent and move into their new property prior to Christmas, it is certain that it’s a dream for the vast majority of the people who want to move. 

Adding these two numbers together to get a time to move would suggest that on average, it would take 20.3 weeks.  Which means that if I instructed an estate agent on 1st October 2021, and if I’m ranked as average, I will be moving in on 20th February 2022.

Time to Move by UK Region 

The next interesting question is how long it will take you to move in each of the UK regions, which is displayed in the following chart:

Christmas time to move

Here we see that Inner London and Northern Ireland are the places in the UK where it takes longest to move at around 25 weeks. 

For those in the know, you probably already know that Scotland would come out the fastest place to move in the UK because they have a different legal system. 

But 13 weeks from the beginning of October means that Santa is alive and well in Scotland, just. Or, at the point this piece was published, you’ll have just made it for Hogmanay.

He’s turned into Scrooge everywhere else in the UK...


Nick Mcconnell

TwentyCi is a homemover and buyhavioural data agency. We deliver strategic data, insight and engagement solutions to a wide range of brands and agencies.

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