Urgent action needed as property ‘fall-throughs’ top 50,000 this year so far

More needs to be done to address the high level of fall-through activity being recorded across the country.

Since the start of the year, there have been more than 50,000 fall-throughs, and Gazeal is calling on the government and Trading Standards to go further and faster with full material disclosure to help lower the volume of property deals collapsing.

Bryan Mansell, CEO of Gazeal, which focuses on offering more upfront information for agents, says it is ‘ridiculous’ that fall-throughs remain so stubbornly high when there are alternatives out there.

He firmly believes that more upfront information is needed now, not later, to help address the issue.

He argues that, while the first changes to upfront information are happening, it is not until full material disclosure that the housing industry is likely to see any impact on lowering fall-throughs.

His concern is that change is still many months away and, in the meantime, sales are continuing to fall through at an alarming rate.

Mansell said: “The recent announcement by National Trading Standards is very welcome and has been a long time coming, but the housing market, and all of those who operate within, are still suffering from high numbers of deals collapsing.

“There are solutions for this exact problem right here, right now, and the industry needs to get better at offering these solutions to the public to prevent or significantly lower the risks with private treaty sales.”

He added: “This continuing issue has a serious impact on agents, conveyancers and other suppliers in the property industry, and just causes unnecessary hold-ups in the process.”

Mansell points out that so far this year (up to March 17 2022), there have been an astonishing 53,856 sales collapsing, in less than three months of 2022.

According to property data consultancy TwentyEA, there has been a sale collapsing to the equivalent of every two minutes this year.

“This is just ridiculous when you consider the alternative solutions out there, which help to lower the risk of fall-throughs from occurring,” Mansell argues.

“Not only is there a greater offering of upfront information, so buyers and sellers alike know where they stand and don’t face any nasty surprises further down the line, but also digital reservation agreements, modern and traditional auctions, and other schemes which can be transformative for a property transaction by helping to commit both buyer and seller to a deal.”

He continued: “We’re fully behind the recent announcements from NTSELAT and think the direction of travel is now the right one, but there is always much more that can be done to improve the home buying and selling process. Faster action is required if we don’t want to see the number of fall-throughs remaining stubbornly high,” he said. “It is better for professional estate agents to lead the change, after all, they are the experts in their markets.”

“If the trends continue as they are, we’d be seeing at least 100,000 transactions collapsing by the middle of the year and another year of 200,000 to 250,000 transactions falling through. This has kind of been accepted and shrugged off up till now, but it’s a huge amount of lost money, time and effort for all involved, and there is a better way.”

“I’ve said it plenty, but more upfront information is a win-win-win as far as I can see. We need to support all parts of the transaction if we truly want to improve the home buying and selling process, and make it faster, more robust and more transparent,” Mansell concluded.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Rob Hailstone

    Can’t argue with: “more upfront information is a win-win-win as far as I can see”

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    1. janbyerss

      Would make little difference

      Chains are falling through because vendors at the top cannot find a home to move to.

      I am a developer we get a lot of sales from buyers who have had a chain fall through on the second hand market due to this.

      Not one has ever said it is because they have no info up front.;

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      1. Mafuta

        To be fair janbyerss, this is only 1 reason why sales are collapsing at this point in time. It is an industry anecdote that 1/3 of sales fall through. What would be more helpful from TwentyEA is why and where so many sales are falling. This isn’t a blame game issue. It reflects poorly on all parties involved in a sale that falls through and our industry as a whole. If the break points aren’t highlighted it’s difficult to know where to look to make improvements. Perhaps this is why nothing is ever changing with this issue. 

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      2. Rob Hailstone

        Well it is coming, with the new Material Information rules kicking in in May/June.

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        1. A W

          Still not a legal requirement Rob… just a recommendation by Trading Standards.

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          1. Rob Hailstone

            Makes sense to me to be ahead of the game though.

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  2. SouthWestAgent

    Inflation rising, interest rate rising, lack of stock for chains to complete and sky-high property prices. It’s the perfect storm.
    Are we really surprised at the number of fall-throughs?

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    1. OverratedAgent

      Have been saying this for a long time…. what do you think will happen when you give people grants to buy houses they can’t afford so that they can just about afford it, and then triple their interest rate on their massive 40 year mortgage?

      Yes interest rates on their mortgages haven’t tripled yet, but CONSERVATIVE estimates are 2% interest rate by the end of 2023…………………just about when these initial rate mortgage rates will be coming to an end

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  3. fruity Mo

    I smell BS Whats the Panic here, I am not convinced the % of Aborted against new instruction or SSTC has moved in 3 to 5 years. To make a statement like this surely you need previous data to be involved? I believe if you went back 5 years you would see difference in % against SSTC aborted. I am not saying the % is acceptable however i am struggling to understand your motivation. 

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  4. Mafuta

    To be fair janbyerss, this is only 1 reason why sales are collapsing at this point in time. It is an industry anecdote that 1/3 of sales fall through. What would be more helpful from TwentyEA is why and where so many sales are falling. This isn’t a blame game issue. It reflects poorly on all parties involved in a sale that falls through and our industry as a whole. If the break points aren’t highlighted it’s difficult to know where to look to make improvements. Perhaps this is why nothing is ever changing with this issue. 

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  5. Certus

    I have had15 sales each month so far and just one single Abo! Perhaps lots of phone calls and a lot more personal service saves all. However lots more information up front would save time and this is the biggest problem. I’d welcome HIPs again if transaction times could be 8 weeks.

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  6. aSalesAgent

    Our fall-throughs aren’t because buyers don’t know what the council tax band is, but because the sellers are not able to tie up an onward purchase in an acceptable timeframe, or that the property we sold is downvalued by the mortgage lender (due to prices in our area escalating sharply).

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  7. cormac.spring

    Chain repair is a key motivation for Spring consumers and partner Agents and Developers. This enquiry type has grown significantly since 2020 compared to other more typical motivations.

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  8. Woodentop

    So speeding up the process is going to stop fall throughs when there is no property at the end of a chain. Lol.  
     
    Anyone worth their salt in this industry knows the varied reasons why a sale does not proceed and it is rarely ‘material missing information’ as the main culprit. When there is a shortage of stock … completing a chain is the major problem, proven time and again for decades.  
     
    So when all this material information is produced up front we are going to see a massive reduction in fall throughs! H’mm like to see someone argue that one with the number of sales that still proceed when the ‘material information’ shows its head. Unless of course we are talking lender or survey rejection which is not conveyancing related, the target of the new guidance. Remember unless its a new build, all properties have been sold before with a history of completing.
     
    Lets qualify the stats claimed. 50,000 chains or properties in a chain? The latter me thinks and probaly relates more like 10,000 or less to stop the sale and then whittle it down considerably to ones that are ‘material information stops’. Storm in a tea cup!

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    1. Rob Hailstone

      There are a number of things wrong with the system, what is wrong with changing (improving) the process at the beginning to see if that at least fixes one of them.

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  9. jeremy1960

    A sale isn’t a sale until chain is complete and fully checked, up until that point it’s an offer that has been agreed. My experience with very limited numbers is that once the sale is a sale it is more stable and less likely to abort.

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