If you're planning to buy a house in Reading, you have to be quick off the mark, because a study by Quick Move Now has named it the hottest property market in the UK. It takes an average of just 64 days to receive an acceptable offer on a property here.
Reading is favoured by commuters for its convenience on the M4 corridor, and fast rail routes into London. You can snap up a property within 30 minutes of London, for the fraction of the price of a place with a similar commuting time in the capital.
As house prices around London have increased, buyers have found themselves pushed further and further out, and the first stops on fast routes are appealing.
The rest of the top ten
The second-fastest place to sell a property is Bristol, where it takes 74 days. Bristol is seen as a creative hub and a vibrant city for those who want the attractions of city life, without the same commuting headaches or house price nightmares as London. As a result young professionals and families are choosing to make Bristol their home.
Third on the list is Worthing, which is considered an affordable alternative to nearby Brighton and Hove. It's within reach of both and commutable to London, yet offers more space at a lower price - and so is popular with families. In Worthing it takes 87 days to sell.
Fifth is Colchester, again another great commuter town in the heart of picturesque England, where property takes 88 days to sell.
Sixth is Rochester, a historic Kentish town that's within easy reach of London, and yet with far lower house prices. It takes 88 days to sell here.
Seventh is Edmonton - the only part of London to feature on the list. This north London area is currently home to a redevelopment project offering 5,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs, making it an attractive place to snap up a property. Houses sell here within 89 days.
Eighth is Milton Keynes, the ultimate commuter town - conceived in the 1960s - with affordable homes within striking distance of the capital. Houses sell here in an average of 90 days.
Ninth is Swindon, another stop on the M4 corridor that combines affordability with commutability to London. Property sells here in an average of 91 days.
10th is Brighton. Property sales have slowed as this popular and vibrant city has become increasingly expensive - adding 11% in the past year. However, homes still sell within 91 days.
What it means
Of course, these are just averages, and within the figures lurk properties in unfortunate locations requiring an awful lot of work, which are holding the averages back. The study found that properties in the best locations, near schools and local amenities, will sell even faster. You can expect, therefore, the most popular parts of Reading (near the best schools) to sell before the agent even has time to get a 'for sale' sign up.
The sheer speed of sales in these areas is an indication that we have reached the stage when outer London is now as laughably unaffordable as inner London. The vast majority of these towns and cities are commutable on faster train services, and are being chosen by those who either cannot begin to dream of getting on the London property ladder, or need more space for a growing family, and cannot afford to trade up in London.
We are witnessing the spread of the commuter belt, in a trend that is likely to continue right up until the point of a market correction. Of course when (and if) we get this correction remains open for debate.
In the interim, the 68% of people who live in London and the South East and expect to receive an offer they can accept within a month, will need to reset their expectations. Thousands of people may want to buy your house, they just can't afford it, so they've decided to buy in Reading instead.
But what do you think? Would you choose to live in any of these hotspots? Let us know in the comments.