Property sales falling through pre-completion amidst cost-of-living concerns

house keys for home ownershipA new report published today shows that home moves in England and Wales are struggling to complete amidst falling consumer confidence.

The cross-market Q2 report by Landmark Information Group represents a comprehensive analysis of the property sector in the UK from across the entirety of the transaction chain.

The report reveals that although most of the transaction process is stablising, transactions are elongating between SSTC (Sold Subject to Contract) and completion, as buyer confidence is hit by cost-of-living pressures and increasing interest rates.

The number of transactions progressing to completion is down 11% on Q2 2019 levels and 7% on average compared to Q1 2022 as buyer confidence is increasingly hit by cost-of-living pressures and increasing interest rates.

This confidence is being further hampered by long transaction times and expired mortgage offers – the average transaction time has grown by 27 days from H1 2019 (91 days) to H1 2022 (118 days).

Landmark’s data also shows that the ratio of valuations per offer has risen by 15% in the first five months of 2022, compared with the same period in 2019, indicating that false starts are now on the rise.

Sellers are, in the meantime, increasingly emboldened by rising property prices as they seek the best offer possible to fund their onward purchase. This is further contributing to the elongation of chains dragging out.

Simon Brown, CEO, Landmark Information Group said: “Whilst the property market is stable across much of the transaction chain, we are starting to see the friction between buyer hesitancy and seller bullishness on price being played out in completion rates – already struggling due to inefficiencies and disconnects across the transaction process.

“With buyers increasingly mindful of cost-of-living pressures and higher interest rates, there needs to be stronger confidence in the transaction process itself. Home-movers have to be able to trust that a transaction will run smoothly – at the moment the fragility of the system creates real risk of chain collapse for those wanting to move within a reasonable timeframe.”



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