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One of the key factors of the health of the Runcorn property market is the number of properties for sale at any one time. The issue with housing is that when demand goes up, unlike with a chocolate bar factory, who can add a couple of hours overtime to increase supply/production to satisfy demand, it takes a good 18 months to two years from planning permission to someone moving into a home. I have talked at length (and proved) in previous articles that we are still not building enough homes in the long term in the Runcorn area, yet for the short term, a good indicator is the number of properties for sale and how long they have been on the market.

How long a property has been on the market is important as a guide to how the property market is performing – potential buyers can always find this information on the Rightmove and Zoopla listings (if you don't know where – drop me an email or message, and I can let you know).

So, let’s have a look at what is happening in Runcorn, both in terms of the number of properties for sale and how long they have been on the market compared to a year ago, then discuss what that means for the current state of play of the Runcorn property market. So to start, let’s look at the number of properties for sale in Runcorn compared to a year ago.

Interestingly, you can see there has been a proportional decrease of 30% in terraced properties on the market in Runcorn and only an 8% reduction in semi-detached property. Overall in the last year, there are 19% fewer properties on the market in Runcorn, compared to a year ago. Now, let’s look how long they have been on the market:

Interesting to see that the biggest jump in the number of days on the market is semi-detached houses, from 124 days to 175 days - demand and supply working again. Also, the length of time an average Runcorn property has been on the market has increased by 16% in the last year.

So what does this all mean for Runcorn buy to let landlords and Runcorn homeowners looking to buy and sell? Well, if you are thinking of selling, as the number of properties on the market has decreased and the length of time Runcorn properties are on the market has increased – you have to be mindful that realistic pricing is the key to get the property sold. If you are a buyer, that means you find yourself in a better position to negotiate a good deal on your Runcorn property purchase.

There is an argument to suggest that property buyers see excessive days on the market as an indication that the seller is becoming desperate to sell because the property hasn’t sold. Buyers are also mindful to believe that there might be something wrong with the home, a defect that caused other buyers to pass it up. This can concern them when they view the property – if they view it at all, as that possible and perhaps made-up defect is on their minds, even if it is subconsciously.

Normally, both assumptions are wrong. A property can loiter on the market for several reasons. The most common reason for a property sticking on the market is overvaluing or overpricing. To get the property on the market, some estate agents may have deluded the seller into believing the property was worth more than the property market will bear. Don't get me wrong, if you don't ask, you don't get, and homeowners naturally want to get the best price for their home, and so test the market. If you aren't getting a steady stream of viewers after a few weeks, then that testing can backfire. You see, by setting the asking price too high to see if they can find someone to pay that inflated price, then finding there is nobody in the market that will pay the price, here lies the biggest trap for house sellers on keeping the inflated asking prices for too long.

Sellers can also get stuck on an asking price, and they are willing to wait out the market until it catches up to what they want for their property – yet we aren't in that type of property market at the moment. Consumer champion Which said that if you have to reduce your asking price by 5% or more, it adds an extra 64 days to the sales process, meaning you might lose the property of your dreams.

I have seen countless times, house sellers insist on an inflated asking price, reduce 12 weeks later, yet buyers think there is something wrong with it, so the homeowner gets fed up and accepts a lower offer to get the property sold. Whereas if the house seller had gone onto the market at the right asking price, they would get much nearer to what they deserve for their property.

So, if you are looking for a bargain to buy, all the portals (Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market) allow you to search and sort by the length of time on the market as well as the asking price. Who knows – there could be a bargain waiting for you!