Property fall-throughs start to ‘creep up’ as stamp duty deadline looms

The proportion of property sales that fell through in January was 7% higher than in January last year, based on the latest data from Rightmove.

The portal says that the rise in the number of property sales falling through could be an early sign that some buyers and sellers are now starting to realise they may not have time to meet the looming stamp duty holiday deadline.

Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister said: “We’re starting to see fall throughs creep up a bit, though not by a substantial amount, a sign that some deals may be falling apart as they know they won’t complete in time to make the stamp duty holiday deadline, though this is likely to be in the groups set to make more substantial savings.”

Last month was a record breaker for Rightmove, with the portal claiming that visits to the site was up by 39% year-on-year, while time spent on the property platform increased by 44% during the same period.

Rightmove says that the busiest January on record for the website resulted in a 7% increase in the volume of prospective buyers contacting estate agents, while those enquiring about a property to rent was up by 14%.

However, the supply of housing failed to keep up with demand, as lockdown led to a quieter month for new listings, down 21% on January last year, which did have the benefit of the post-election activity boost.

Bannister commented: “It’s clear that more people than ever before used the new year as a chance to start thinking about moving home, despite all of the challenges and worries that came with January, but we are seeing the effect of lockdown on the number of properties coming to market.”

In the rental market the new number of listings is down by 14%, despite a significant increase in demand from prospective tenants.

The latest findings from Rightmove also show that there are now more than 186,000 property listings for sale and to rent that have online viewings available from agents, compared to 100,000 videos being available in March last year, as more agents rely on virtual viewings.

“The start of February so far looks encouraging for activity, which points to some positive signs for the next few months and into Q2,” Bannister added.


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  1. WiltsAgent

    Utter drivel. There could be a nuclear apocalypse and all that would be left would be the cockroaches and some bloke from rightmove bleating on about having ‘record traffic on our website this month’. Good luck with your price increases this Spring if you’re still wasting your money with them.

  2. Seller0169

    Wilts agent, for anyone who owns a home, property portfolio or is looking to buy why is this utter drivel?

  3. aSalesAgent

    Has there been any actual research into the reasons why more sales are reportedly falling through? It could just as likely be (or more likely, based on my experience alone) because conveyancers, management companies, etc, are taking longer to deal with enquiries, so mortgage offers are expiring. Buyers then find that their lender is unwilling to extend the original offer and the current rates are over 1% higher than last year, meaning the applicant no longer passes affordability checks and they therefore have to withdraw from their purchase.

    1. gingerninja

      That doesn’t make such a good headline though, does it?


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