The shocking truth about how long it really takes to sell a house – be prepared!

Stamp duty holiday delays pushing average selling time to a shocking 295 days

How long does it take to sell a house? Buyers and sellers must prepare for a much longer process to house sale completion this year.

Related: What will happen to house prices? Experts warn of a price crash for 2021

House prices are continuing to rise, but property experts are still reporting unprecedented number of people moving home. The stamp duty holiday, now extended, has motivated many house buyers to make a purchase during the pandemic. Yet the knock-on effects in the form of huge delays are continuing to affect the property market as a result. Recent research by estate agent comparison site, (opens in new tab), has revealed it is now taking 43 days longer to sell a home due to the delays caused by the stamp duty holiday. Using data from all of the major online property portals and the Land Registry, the data reveals the severity of the backlog now affecting the housing market. This backlog is huge and will take many months to clear.

It now takes an average of 295 days to sell a home

house front view with white building and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC /David Giles)

Looking at the total time to sell from the initial listing of a property to the sale being recorded by the Land Registry as complete, the research shows it’s now taking an average of 295 days to sell a home. This is 17 days longer when compared to the same year pre-stamp duty holiday (January-July 2020) and as much as 43 days longer year on year.

This is despite the fact that the time it takes sellers to accept offers has gone down by two weeks. Between the 1st January 2020 and the introduction of the stamp duty holiday (8th July 2020), it was taking the average homebuyer 138 days from listing to accepting an offer. With the holiday in place and helping to turbocharge buyer interest, this time to find a buyer has since reduced by 14 days to just 124 days.

white calender with pen u pins and potted plant

(Image credit: TBC)

The knock-on effects on conveyancing and mortgages

The areas where things are still taking considerably longer than they did pre-pandemic are conveyancing and mortgage lending, both overwhelmed by demand and working a months-long backlogs. Founder and CEO of, Colby Short, commented: 'It’s now taking more than six weeks longer to complete a sale than it was the previous year and this can feel like an eternity as anyone who has bought or sold a house will tell you.

Related: The stamp duty holiday has been extended - Here's everything we know

What should buyers and sellers do in the face of these delays? 'Unfortunately', Short says, 'there isn’t much you can do to bypass this backlog other than sit tight and be patient. At least, at present, those currently delayed will have the reward of thousands saved in stamp duty when they do finally come to their completion date.'