Properties taking 29% longer to sell due to market backlogs

Properties are currently taking 29% longer to sell once under offer because of conveyancing delays, according to analysis from Movewise.

Related topics:  Finance News
Rozi Jones
29th January 2021
stopwatch stop pause clock time
"To avoid transactions collapsing, any offer being made now should be on the understanding that completion is likely to be after the tax holiday ends."

Its data shows that hold-ups with property searches and conveyancers dealing with a backlog of cases has seen the average time to exchange contracts increase from 96 to 124 days.

Across the regions, average time to exchange contracts, once an offer has been made, has increased by 37% in Scotland (from 70 to 96 days) and 32% in the North East (from 87 to 115 days). In London, average time to exchange has increased by 29%, from 97 to 125 days.

Movewise analysed estate agency data on almost 500,000 property sales across the UK where contracts were exchanged over the past 30 days and six months.

Over the past month, the average time from offer to exchange was 28 days longer - or 29% - when compared to the average time over the past six months.

This confirms there’s a bottleneck in the conveyancing process as councils struggle to handle the level of property searches being requested and conveyancers drown under an increased workload.

Movewise also analysed the time to sell from a property being listed to contracts being exchanged. Comparing transactions over the past 30 days vs 180 days, the average time was 160 days compared to 127 days - a 26% increase.

Tom Scarborough, CEO and founder of Movewise, commented: “These figures show the pressure that property transactions are under at the moment. Although houses are going under offer on average five weeks after initial listing, the bottleneck in the conveyancing process is causing a headache for both sides of the transaction.

“Buyers are still keen to beat the stamp duty deadline and sellers need to be aware of that before accepting an offer. To avoid transactions collapsing, any offer being made now should be on the understanding that completion is likely to be after the tax holiday ends.

“If required, buyers and sellers should enter into any negotiation on price, before the conveyancing process commences. An honest and frank discussion upfront, could avoid a transaction failing further down the line, after money and time has been spent on searches and surveys.”

More like this
Subscribe
to our newsletter

Join a community of over 30,000 intermediaries and keep up-to-date with industry news and upcoming events via our newsletter.