Properties are taking longer to get from sales agreed to exchange, Rightmove said this morning.
It said that the time taken to get sales over the line is now at a five-year high.
The portal’s data for August shows that the number of properties listed as Sold Subject To Contract is up by 6.1% annually – to the highest number for four years – but they are staying listed with that status for longer.
Rightmove does not provide a figure for sales agreed but said the number of properties listed as SSTC is now at its highest level since June 2014, which it claimed suggests a “log-jam in the legal process”.
This is echoed by separate analysis by Rightmove that tracked listings from displaying SSTC to completion at the Land Registry and found the process took 109 days on average in 2018.
This was up from 107 days in 2017 and 103 in 2016.
Rightmove’s figures for this month show that asking prices for properties new to the market increased by 1.2% annually but fell 1% on a monthly basis, to average £305,500.
Time on the market for July was flat on a monthly basis at 62 days, but up from 57 a year ago.
Average stock per agent was also up in July to 54.4 properties, compared with 53.3 in June and 52.5 a year before.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “It’s an anxious time for all involved once a sale has been agreed subject to contract, and that includes the estate agent whose livelihood depends on the sales going through rather than falling through.”