Here's the UK's fastest property market

When it comes to the U.K.'s much-discussed housing market, London might be the location on everyone's lips - but none of its boroughs managed to match Cambridge, which is the country's property market with the quickest sale time.

Houses in the university city took an average of just 27 days day to turn from being listed to sale between April and June, according to research from Rightmove released on Thursday, down from last year's 39 days.

"Cambridge has always been viewed as a safe bet with the University and big businesses investing in the city, and with the upcoming additional railway station, things are only likely to move even more quickly," Andrew Bradshaw, real estate agent at Cambridge-based Bradshaw Residential, said in the report.

The city was closely followed by south London's Lewisham and Sutton boroughs - both with an average selling time of 29 days.

The University of Cambridge; the highest-ranked U.K. institution on the QS table.
Oliver Benn | Getty Images
The University of Cambridge; the highest-ranked U.K. institution on the QS table.

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In fact, the south of London proved to have a particularly fast turnaround time, with seven of the city's boroughs featuring in the top 10, and only two – Hackney and Waltham Forest – located north of the river.

According to Rightmove, the other non-London "fastest-selling hotspots" were Warwick, in the West Midlands, and St. Albans, just north of the capital, which came in fifth and seventh respectively.

Overall, every British region saw an improvement in sale time, the report said, with the average property listed on Rightmove taking 65 days to be sold. This marked a 13-day improvement on the same period last year – although some locations showed signs of struggle.

Nearly all of the locations with the slowest-selling properties were in Wales, the North West and Yorkshire, and seven of them saw a slowdown in sale time. Powys in Wales was named the slowest-selling location in Great Britain by Rightmove, with the average number of days between listing and sale increasing by 8 percent, year-on-year, to 113 days.

"Although some of the slower towns have seen increases in time to sell compared with 2013, all regional averages have fallen, showing the housing market recovery to be broad-based," Rightmove said in its report.


The research comes after house prices in Britain rose above their pre-crisis 2007 peak. In June, Nationwide's House Price Index revealed that Britain's house prices rose at their fastest rate in nine years, growing 11.8 percent from a year ago.

But Melfyn Williams, real estate agent at Williams & Goodwin in Gwynedd, Wales, said the "ripple effect from London" had not reached his area, despite the number of sales having improved.

"Whilst consumer confidence has grown significantly this has not filtered through to significant house price growth yet," he added in a statement released alongside Rightmove's report.

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The Bank of England has taken action in an effort to curb house price growth, and there are nascent signs of a slowdown in the market.

In a note published Thursday, entitled "Cooler Britannia", Stephen Rees, head of real estate advisory at Coutts, argued that while the market should remain strong near-term, it will "return to a more normal level thereafter."

For Coutts' Rees, the combination of the Bank of England's measures – which include a ceiling on high loan-to-income lending and a 3 percent interest-rate stress test – and expectations of an rate hike, are driving this cooling of the market.

Surveyors appear to agree, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) market survey stating that while house prices rose in June, the Financial Conduct Authority's Mortgage Market Review and the Bank of England's rhetoric were "having a drag on activity".

Demand for property was growing at its slowest pace since the beginning of 2013, RICS said, and only 26 percent of those surveyed said they expected prices to rise rather than fall over the next three months – down from 46 percent in May – although in London, the number rose to 55 percent.

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