UK moves now taking 29 per cent longer
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UK properties are currently taking 29 per cent longer to sell than they were six months ago, according to new research.
Movewise analysed estate agent data on almost 500,000 property sales, comparing those from the past 30 days to those from 180 days ago.
They found that the average time from offer acceptance to exchange of contracts was 28 days (29 per cent) longer, up from 96 to 124 days.
The time from a property first being listed to exchange also increased by an average of 26 per cent during this period, from 127 days to 160.
Delays in the conveyancing process are being blamed, with solicitors and councils struggling to cope with the increased demand for their services brought about by the stamp duty holiday.
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But for many movers, the current stress may be in vain: Movewise said its stats suggest that any property that went under offer from late November 2020 onwards will struggle to beat the stamp duty deadline of March 31.
Tom Scarborough, CEO and founder of Movewise, said: “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.
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“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.
He added that, 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.”
There remains some hope that the tax holiday could be extended, however. The topic is set to be debated in the House of Commons on Monday, February 1, after a parliamentary e-petition calling for a six-month extension was signed by more than 130,000 people.