A number of searches are taking longer than the Government’s target of ten days.
The Government announced the ten-day limit in April 2018.
However, searches are not only regularly taking longer than ten days, but are also taking longer than at the start of year.
At that time, then housing minister Heather Wheeler said that 80% of searches were being completed within the target time.
This was said to be due to increasing government pressure on local authorities to speed up their processes.
However, according to property platform ViewMyChain, most searches – 84% – took up to 15 days in September.
In October, according to figures that it recorded last week, 88% of searches took up to 15 days.
In both months, the proportion of searches taking up to ten days was 68.5%.
According to ViewMyChain, councils differ enormously in their search timeframes.
Quickest are Lambeth, Bolton, Dartford, Manchester, Solihul, Suffolk Coastal and West Somerset.
Slowest are Cherwell, Greenwich, Adur, Stafford, Bridgend, Maldon, South Kesteven and Camden.
ViewMyChain, which allows agents, buyers and sellers to see how a transaction is progressing via milestones such as searches, said no single factor was to blame for the slowdown.
However, it said that the Government does not appear to fully understand the steps that must be taken to deliver searches and how these steps can be sped up.
It said that a lack of resources and stricter budgets have exacerbated the problem, slowing down the sales process.
In the London borough of Camden, searches are said to be taking up to six times as long as they should because of a staff shortage.
The local paper quotes one woman who applied for a search in September and has been told by her agent to expect it to take until January.
Another said it took four months to get a search done.
Agents Parkheath NW6 told the Ham & High: “It’s really holding up exchange of contracts.
“For probably the last six months, it’s been taking up to 70 working days. It’s hugely frustrating.”