It now takes 20 weeks to sell a house in Central London

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The time it takes to sell a home in Central London has soared to 20 weeks as lingering uncertainty surrounding Brexit scares off buyers.

The waiting period far exceeds the national average of just over 12 weeks for an index of British cities in the third quarter, data from Zoopla Ltd. show. The country's residential properties are taking the longest to offload since the same period in 2016, shortly after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.

"Brexit uncertainty has been a compounding factor for lower market activity in some areas," said Richard Donnell, research director at Zoopla. "Regardless, removing the uncertainty caused by Brexit will do little to address levels of housing affordability, which are limiting market activity across southern England."

When properties in inner London are eventually sold, they're going at a discount of about 7.6% below the asking price, the report said. That's a stark reversal from the peak of London’s real estate market in 2014 when many buyers paid a premium on the asking price for a home.

Sellers in cities across the country are accepting offers an average 3.8% lower than the initial asking price, the report said.

Other cities in the south of England, such as Bristol, Southampton and Bournemouth, have also seen the time taken to sell homes increase materially compared to three years ago.

"Market conditions are set to remain weak in southern cities until pricing levels adjust to what buyers are willing, or can afford, to pay," said Donnell.

Bloomberg News
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