Moving House in the UK – a Timeline and State of the Market

Jun 30, 2023 | Removals Services

Removal truck

Moving house is an exciting but complex process that involves several stages and requires careful planning. In the UK, there are various factors that influence the timeline, including conveyancing, surveys, mortgage arrangements, and booking a removals company.

What is the typical timeline for moving house in the UK, from agreeing on a sale to completion? Of course, there is the current economic climate and mortgage requirements that are greatly affected by the cost of living crisis. And this could greatly influence the ability to consider buying or selling in the present market.

Let’s explore more.


Housing Market Update – BAR Conference

A group of house in a Clooney At the recent annual conference of the British Association of Removers (BAR) the industry was given a housing market update from MoverAlerts by TwentyCi.

There were a few key points to give food for thought:


Historical Supply Volumes for owner occupiersSupply has risen for the first yearfrom 2018 to 2022​ 

  • In 2021, 1.48m properties came to the market for sale​
  • In 2022, this had risen by 5% to 1.6m properties​


Historical Transaction Volumes for owner occupiers:

  • Since 2014, the UK has seen about 1.2 million transactions per annum​
  • The Stamp Duty holiday in 2021 led to a 41% increase in the volumeof transactions
  • 2022 saw a “return to normal” after high transaction volumes in 2021 and saw a decrease of 16%​, however, it’s worth noting that this is still 5.6% up on 2019
  • In 2023 Q1,supply is 5% up on 2022​, however, this still remains 6% short of the pre-pandemic volumes in 2019

*Supply is defined as the volume of new properties coming to the market for sale​ 


A house beside a roadHistorical Demand Volumes:

  • Demand has fallenfrom 2021 to 2022​ but this was to be expected, given that Stamp Duty is now paid at full rates​ and demand in 2022 was in fact still marginally up on the “norm” of 2019​
  • In 2023 to-date,demand is falling even further​, however, this is still only 9% down on the pre-pandemic 2019

*Demand is defined as the volume of sales agreed on UK properties​ 


Forecast Volumes

Given historical transactions plus the supply and demand activities we know are in the pipeline, our view is:​

  • 5m New Instructions in 2023​, which represents a fall of 2.5% on the prior year of 2022​ and is also a contraction of 5.8% on 2019​
  • 1m Sales Agreed in 2023​ which represents a fall of 10.5% on the prior year of 2022​ and is also a contraction of 7.7% on 2019


A house in a beautiful placeTransaction Changes to Premium valued properties

  • Property prices – “premium” property transactions are more likely​ because higher value properties (£700k+) are 20% more likely to be sold in 2023​ and conversely lower-priced properties (less than £200k) are between 10-20% less likely to be sold in 2023 
    • £500k+ properties:​  Properties coming to the market have seen an increase of 42%​ 
    • £1m+ properties:​  Property coming to the market is up by 54%​  


Housing process time

  • Whilst property coming to market is reaching Sales Agreed a little slower than this time last year, the average time to progress (from SSTC to Exchange) has started to come down for the first time in 4 years​ 
  • Looking at Jan – Mar 2023 compared like for like with prior years an increase in Time to Progress of 39% can be seen from 2019​, this is a 3% decrease on 2022 and appears to be settling into a new ‘normal’​ 


Key Takeaways 

  • Supply volumes set to contract on 2022 by 2.5%​ 
  • Demand set to contract by 10% on 2022 levels​ 
  • Transaction volumes to fall back in line with 2019​ 
  • Property prices are at a high, sitting at just over a 23% increaseon 2019 
  • Premium valued properties look to be faring better in the challenging marketplace


What is the sale process and the timeline involved?


man writing something with his penAgreed Sale and Conveyancing Details:

  • Sale Agreement: Once you have agreed on the sale with the buyer, the conveyancing process begins. Conveyancing involves the legal transfer of property ownership and typically takes between 8-12 weeks, although it can vary depending on the complexity of the transaction and the responsiveness of all parties involved.
  • Conveyancing Procedure: During conveyancing, your solicitor or conveyancer will carry out various tasks, including property searches, reviewing contracts, raising inquiries, and conducting surveys (if necessary). The time required for each of these steps can vary, but it usually takes several weeks to complete.
  • Surveys: Surveys are essential to assess the condition of the property. The type of survey required depends on the property’s age, location, and individual circumstances. The timeframe for surveys can range from a few days for a basic homebuyer’s report to several weeks for a comprehensive building survey.


Mortgage Arrangements:

  • Mortgage Application: In the current economic climate, mortgage applications can take longer due to increased scrutiny and stricter lending criteria. The application process typically involves gathering documentation, credit checks, affordability assessments, and property valuations. On average, it takes around 4-6 weeks to secure a mortgage offer, although it may take longer depending on individual circumstances.
  • Mortgage Requirements: To improve your chances of obtaining a mortgage, ensure that your credit history is in good shape, provide all required documentation promptly, and be prepared for additional checks and assessments. It is advisable to seek professional advice from a mortgage broker who can guide you through the process and help navigate the current economic climate.


Booking a Removals Company and Packing:

  • Choosing a Removals Company: Once you have a confirmed moving date, start researching and obtaining quotes from reputable removals companies. It is recommended to book a removals company at least 4-6 weeks in advance, especially during peak moving seasons when availability may be limited.
  • Packing and Organising: Packing timelines vary depending on the size of your home and the amount of belongings you have. As a general guideline, start packing non-essential items several weeks before the move and leave essential items for last-minute packing. Aim to complete the majority of packing at least a day or two before the moving date to minimise stress.

With us at Bennett’s, you can choose a full service move, with us packing for you, or providing you with suitable packing materials – all the way through the move to offloading at your new destination.


Conveyancing Completion:

Exchange of Contracts: Once all legal requirements have been met and both parties are ready, contracts are exchanged. This is a significant milestone as it legally binds both the buyer and seller to the transaction. Exchange typically takes place a few days to a few weeks before completion.

Completion: Completion is the final stage of the house-moving process. It is the day when the property ownership officially transfers to the buyer, and the seller must vacate the premises. The timeframe between exchange and completion is usually 7-28 days, depending on the agreement reached during conveyancing.


Moving house in the UK involves several stages, from agreeing on a sale to completion. While the timeline can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the transaction, conveyancing, mortgage arrangements, and booking a removals company, it typically takes around 8-12 weeks. It is crucial to plan ahead, communicate effectively with all parties involved, and seek professional guidance to ensure a smooth and successful move.


Relocating to Sheffield? Or within the area?


Bennett’s Removals specialise in removals and moving services in Sheffield and South Yorkshire surrounding areas.

It is our wholehearted aim to make your move a pleasant experience.

No two moves are the same!

We’re here to make your move from one place to another as stress-free as possible – with as many of our services as you need for your unique move.


Bennett’s Removals


Your South Yorkshire Removals & Storage Company

You’re right at home with people who know just what you need when moving house and home – and office too.

Full moving service to best suit your individual needs.

Making your move easier and stress-free.