Cambridge beats London to be named top location where houses sell faster than anywhere else in Britain

A home in Cambridge goes in just 27 days on average – compared to 41 for the capital

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The Independent Online

Cambridge has been revealed as having the hottest property market in the UK, even beating London to become the place where houses sell faster than anywhere else in the country, a survey has shown.

According to the property website Rightmove, homes listed on its website in the university city take just 27 days to change hands – compared with 41 days across Greater London.

Estate agents said Cambridge combines the enduring need for student housing with a boom as a base for science and technology firms. The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has pledged to make the city its global hub, after it fought off a merger bid from US giant Pfizer.

The city is also expecting a new £26 million railway station, and as a result one expert said nearly all houses go for above asking price – many within two weeks of being listed.

Next to Cambridge the two other fastest selling areas in the UK are the London boroughs of Lewisham and Sutton, taking 29 days in each case to exchange contracts.

House prices in London have jumped 20.1 per cent compared to a year ago, the Office for National Statistics revealed earlier this week, while UK house prices as a whole rose 10.5 per cent.

It means the average home in the capital now costs £492,000, compared to £262,000 across the country.

And although selling times have fallen across Britain, London has outpaced other regions with completion times falling 32 per cent year on year from 60 to 41 days.

The slowest area for shifting property, meanwhile, is Powys in mid-Wales, where sales take an average of 113 days.

The next two slowest-selling areas are Gwynedd in north-west Wales where it takes 112 days to complete a sale, and Sefton in Merseyside, where it takes 106 days.

While Wales and the North West were particularly well-represented on the list of slowest-selling areas, the smallest fall in sale times was actually in the North East – a drop of just two per cent from 90 to 88 days.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “This new data shows just how different the pace of the housing market is at a very local level, and clearly displays that speed is key for both buyers and sellers.

“Buyers want to know that they can be the first to find new properties on the market, and sellers expect to have their property marketed as quickly as possible to find a suitable buyer.”

Cambridge estate agent Andrew Bradshaw said the market was buzzing in the East Anglian city as it prepares for its second railway station, Cambridge Science Park, in 2015.

He said: “In the current market we are finding a number of buyers for many properties within two weeks or even a week in some cases. 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.”

Mr Bradshaw added he had a number of clients who had sold properties elsewhere, moved to the area, and were renting until a suitable house became available.

But Gwynedd-based estate agent Melfyn Williams said: “The ripple effect from London and talk of a widespread 'over-heated' market has not reached Gwynedd.

“Whilst the number of sales has improved and some property is selling in days or weeks, the average time is three to four months to secure a sale, and there are many properties that have now been for sale for over 12 months.”