House sellers in Birmingham fared better than many other towns and cities in 2008 with just five per cent of properties languishing on the market for the entire calendar year.

Property sales in the second city compared favourably to the five per cent national average of those on the market since last January with London experiencing a similar proportion of unsold properties.

However Manchester experienced a considerably slower housing market through the year with 13 per cent of properties put on the market last January still unable to find a buyer – a problem attributed to the over-supply of new build properties and city centre developments, with these types of property hit hard by the problems in the buy-to-let market.

In other parts of the country as many as one in four properties have been on the market for the whole of 2008 according to the latest figures from property search engine Globrix.

The situation is particularly acute in certain areas, with 26 per cent of properties for sale in Rochdale, in Lancashire, having failed to sell since the beginning of the year.

Aberystwyth in Wales has also suffered from the stagnating property market, with 23 per cent of homes that are for sale there failing to find a buyer since the beginning of the year, while 20 per cent of homes in Swanage in Dorset have also languished on the market since January.

Property sales are running at around half of the level seen during 2007 as falling house prices are putting people off getting on to the property ladder or trading up it.

At the same time, many people who still want to go ahead with a deal are unable to raise the mortgage finance they need because of the credit crunch.

Globrix said towns in the North of England had been particularly hard hit by the stagnating market, with properties in the North accounting for eight of the top 10 towns which have the highest proportion of properties that have failed to sell during the past year. Among the towns with homes that have been on the market all year are Pontefract in West Yorkshire (18 per cent of homes) and Ripon and Wetherby (15 per cent).

Daniel Lee, chief executive of Globrix, said: “It’s been a terrible year for the property market. These figures really do bring into sharp focus just how stagnant the property market has been in 2008.

“The gridlock in the market has been a result of the banks’ reluctance to lend and an unwillingness by sellers to lower their asking prices to more realistic