Properties are taking 29% longer than average to sell once under offer.
Residential properties are currently taking almost a third longer than normal sell once under offer because of conveyancing delays, fresh industry data shows.
Movewise analysed estate agency data on almost 500,000 property sales across the UK where contracts were exchanged over the past 30 days and 180 days. The study found that properties are taking 29% longer to complete.
The company says hold-ups with property searches and conveyancers dealing with a backlog of cases have led to the average time to exchange contracts once an offer has been accepted, increasing from 96 to 124 days.
That means, according to the research, any property that went under offer from late November 2020 onwards, will likely struggle to complete in time to beat the stamp duty deadline on 31st March.
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.
This, according to Movewise, “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, said: “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.”
Regional data showing the average number of days to sell a property (from listing to exchange), comparing transactions which exchanged in the past 30 days vs 180 days. The table shows the time take to exchange contracts once a property is under offer: