Last year I looked at how long Sunderland properties remained on the market in 2015 compared to 2007. This revealed some startling figures showing that, on average, properties were on the market for three times as long in 2015 as they were in 2007. I've taken a look at the stats again and the Good News is that the time on the market has come down significantly across all Sunderland property types in the year to June 2016
In 2007 the average time that a Sunderland property remained on the market was 113 days - remember this was the very peak of the pre-crash market, with many properties being snapped up as soon as they were listed
When I compared this in June of last year, the average time on the market was 331 days, essentially 11 months
There was some variation in property type, with detached houses showing the smallest relative increase from 148 days to 368 days, compared to Flats showing an increase of 263% from 122 days on the market in 2007 to 443 days in June 2015
When I looked at the June 2016 stats I was pleased to see that time on the market has come down across the board, with the average Time on the Market of 265 days, shaving just over 2 months off the Time on the Market compared to a year ago
Does this suggest that the Sunderland property market is in a healthier position? As I pointed out last year, Time on the Market and the actual Time to Sell are two very different things...
Vastly overpriced or unattractive properties that are never going to sell will skew the Time on the Market data in a way that does not affect Time to Sell data...which records the time between a property being first advertised For Sale and the sale completing
The average Time to Sell in Sunderland in June 2015 was 145 days compared to 134 days in June 2016
So it would appear that the significant (2 months) difference in the average Time on The Market is not translating into significantly speedier sales. Why is this?
I'd suggest that the Time to Sell data takes into account several factors over and above how bouyant the market is, such as the time taken for mortgage finance to be arranged and for the conveyancing process to be completed
With this in mind a Time to Sell of 145 days in 2015 or 134 days in 2016 still represents 4 - 5 months of which around 2 months of this (at least) will be for the sales process to be completed following an offer being accepted
With this in mind I would also suggest that the Time to Sell data very much represents the good quality, keenly priced properties in popular areas that are snapped up within the first couple of months of going on the market - the overpriced or unloved properties will still stick around and be picked up by the Time on the Market data
The figures seem to back this up, with properties priced at £100,000 to £200,000 having the shortest average Time to Sell of any price band in Sunderland (108 days), the relatively scarce three bedroom properties having the shortest Time to Sell (115 days) when you compare number of bedrooms and semi's and terraces having similar Times to Sell of 116 and 118 days respectively compared to flats & detached properties with longer, but similar Times to Sell of 175 and 174 days respectively
It's interesting to note that last year properties priced at under £100k had the shortest average Time to Sell in Sunderland (125 days) but this top position is now taken by the £100 - £200k properties
So what does this mean for investors? Well, just as there is a 'sweet spot' on the rent you will look to achieve when buying a property to rent out (£400 - £500pcm being the most popular search category for Sunderland tenants) an investor should always buy knowing their exit strategy and they would be well advised to buy properties that will sell quickly when the time comes to sell
For free, impartial advice on any aspect of the Sunderland property market feel free to give me a call on 0191 567 8577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org