Industry figures pen open letter to Michael Gove calling for speedier transactions

Well-known figures from across the industry have written an open letter to Michael Gove, calling for him to do more to help speed up property transactions.

Signatories include: Nick Hale, O’Neill Patient; Verona Frankish, Yopa; David Grossman, Simplify; Simon Brown, Landmark Information Group; Ben Thompson, Mortgage Advice Bureau; Alan Young, Ian Turner; Ian Lancaster, Twenty Ci. 

Together have set out their collective desire to work with the government to ensure that the home buying and selling process works better for movers and businesses.

They want to see supportive action from the government comes as the property market has been getting slower and less responsive, with transactions reported to take 133 days to complete, almost 80% longer than in 2007, according to data from Landmark Information Group.

The letter calls on the Government to work alongside businesses across the sector to create a new ‘Time to Buy’ strategy that will set out a plan for the future of the market and support businesses to take up technology and innovative solutions.

Simon Brown, CEO for Landmark Information Group, commented “The UK’s home-moving process suffers from systemic challenges, with duplication and inefficiencies leading to delays for home-movers. This is both stressful and frustrating for home-movers, and enormously wasteful for property professionals. We want to create a more efficient and better-connected market, where everyone benefits from shared data and insights. To achieve this ambition, we’re bringing the industry together to call on Government to drive forward reform to make the home-moving process work better for everyone.”

Verona Frankish, CEO for Yopa, said: “The Time to Buy strategy is vital for the continued health of the property market, and the needs of home movers all over the UK so that transactions can take place in a reasonable time frame and with certainty.”

Ben Thompson, deputy CEO for Mortgage Advice Bureau, added: “The UK needs a fluid housing market where people who need to move home can do so with confidence and also with a far greater degree of ease. By solving this problem and achieving this, not only will this make people’s lives easier, but the UK economy will also benefit from the multiplier effect of more home moves each year, and that has to be a good thing too.”

Open letter: 

Rt Hon, Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

2 Marsham Street



Tuesday 9th May 2023

Dear Secretary of State,

We are writing to you as leading businesses across the home moving market to set out our collective desire to work with the Government to ensure that the home moving market works better for movers, businesses, and the wider economy, and the role an ambitious new strategy can play in driving improvements now.

The current home buying and selling process is not working well for consumers or businesses. It is too slow and uncertain, leading to all parties left waiting for transactions to complete, not knowing if or when it will happen.

This has knock on effects across our economy. Movers are left in limbo, frustrated and anxious as to whether they will find their dream home. Slowness, delays, and poor transparency within the process has led to an increased number of fall throughs, with 90,188 transactions estimated to have fallen through in Q3 2022, a 15.6% increase on a quarterly basis and a 3.6% uplift versus the same time last year. In practice, this means professionals in the market work for months only for transactions to fall through, leaving them unpaid. Meanwhile our economy does not get the full benefits as movers hold back on spending for more than 4 months before they are able to renovate, decorate or furnish their new home.

This has worsened in recent years with transactions now taking 133 days to complete, almost 80% longer than in 2007. This is due to a combination of issues across the transaction process, making the frustrations, anxieties and problems facing movers, business, and our economy even more pronounced. We know this is not working in the interest of the market, the government or the economy, and we need to work together to act now.

Industry must commit to reform the analogue processes that powers the home buying and selling process and adopt new, innovative solutions that are powered by technology and data. Greater data sharing, more upfront information and standardised tools across the industry will transform how businesses help consumers move and give them more certainty that they will complete their purchase on the day they want to. It will also help stretched professionals support movers more easily. These solutions can be delivered now by leading industry players but can be turbocharged with government endorsement and support to ensure the benefits are felt as soon as possible for all movers.

Government must drive industry to take up these solutions by creating a new Time to Buy Strategy with leading players that sets out the clear desire for the market to work better for movers and businesses. By setting out a plan for the future of the market and supporting businesses to take up technology and innovative solutions, government can make the process more effective, certain, and open up the prospect of a faster process in a matter of months.

We are committed to working with you, your department, and your officials to deliver a better home buying and selling process. Doing so will reduce anxiety for movers, create greater certainty in the market for families and professionals and will also unlock economic spending that benefits our economy more quickly. The home moving market can contribute billions of pounds in activity to our economy, and by making it work better it can play its full role in economic growth in the coming months and years.

Our businesses are committed to seeing the market work better for all and are prepared to work closely with you to achieve this.

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned

Nick Hale, O’Neill Patient; Verona Frankish, Yopa; David Grossman, Simplify; Simon Brown, Landmark Information Group; Ben Thompson, Mortgage Advice Bureau; Alan Young, Ian Turner; Ian Lancaster, Twenty Ci. 

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  1. Rob Hailstone

    I’m all for improving the home buying and selling process, but haven’t these signatories missed a trick? There are a lot of well-known names not included. Were they even asked if they wanted to support this initiative (it certainly passed me by)? If not, why not?

  2. #ImpressiveConveyancing

    No mention of ridding us of the cash bung payments between unscrupulous estate agents and inferior conveyancers. No mention of the shoddy quality of the actual people allowed to call themselves conveyancers.

  3. GreenBay

    80% longer than in 2007!!! That statistic alone tells us that the conveyancing process is not operating as it should be.
    If I am honest though, I don’t think there will be any significant changes anytime soon. Too many people and organisations reliant on the status quo and they will do everything to not allow change!
    We have been talking about this for years so unlikely to change anytime soon.


    It reads like a letter written by AI.

    Theres a lot chat about technology and “industry” and waffle about “delays”.

    Here’s the simple truth-the process is back to front.

    1 Sellers should have Title checked and all documentation required by a buyer prepared before the property is marketed.

    2 Buyers should come to market with evidence of the ability to buy and evidence of source of funds already verified either by a mortgage broker or by a Solicitor.

    3 Once an offer is made the buyer is presented with a pack of documents to peruse with legal advice and to exchange within 2 weeks.

    4 Completion two weeks after.

    All of this is achievable now without any new tech or planning or intervention from Government.

    All that needs to change is attitude but most importantly the order in which things are done.

  5. Rob Hailstone

    Sellers should have Title checked and all documentation required by a buyer prepared before the property is marketed.

    Exactly what I was trying to do (often successfully) with my HIP business. Over a decade now wasted.

  6. GreenBay

    Sorry Rob, somehow down voted you. Didn’t mean too, I totally agree. I could never understand why everyone was so against HIP’s, they saved a lot of time wasting!

  7. Phil Priest (4Corners Property)

    Wow isn’t this a strong statement from a number of key players who have caused this major delay in conveyancing  by offering such poor service at high volumes causing the most amount of stress and anxiety for every client to have ever had the misfortune of using their services.

    This now shouts loud and clear to me that they have created a coup where ‘they have created this data set’ but history proves they don’t want to share their toys and benefit the industry for everyone involved, simply control it and serve their shareholders with greater profits.


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