The Stamp Duty Holiday deadline has been hugely successful in stimulating the housing market but has also significantly increased completion times and the potential of chain collapse.

Industry experts are predicting that of the 700,000+ sales that were waiting to complete before June 30th, many may also miss the September deadline date before stamp duty returns to standard rates on October 1st.

These delays have come at a high cost to some homeowners who have not been able to complete their sale on time, that may now result in increased rates of fall-throughs.

As a result of the backlog, legal firms such as Solegal.co.uk are issuing warnings to their clients stating that they, “cannot guarantee that any transaction will complete before the current SDLT holiday ends 30 June 2021 (properties up to £500,000) and 30 September 2021 (properties up to £250,000). SO Legal Limited will not accept liability for any direct or indirect financial loss resulting from a transaction completing after 30 June 2021 or after 30 September 2021”.

With the number of sales waiting to complete and the average UK house price now at £251,000, (£20,000 higher than in April 2020 according to the ONS), buyers are at risk of not only missing out on the potential savings on offer, but also being priced out of the market and as a result falling victim to their chain collapsing. Property fall-throughs cost UK homeowners in excess of £607 million each year, with the average homeowner footing a bill of at least £2,700 due to their chain collapsing.

We look at what industry experts are predicting for the housing market at this time and how the market will fare as a direct result of the current SDLT log jam.

EXPERT VIEW

Conveyancing Association:

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association says that 'through no-one's fault, there are a number of log-jams to be worked through. Some lenders currently have telephone hold times of two hours, and some valuers are not responding to post-valuation queries, which makes the time to get to completion lengthier’.

Twenty Ci:

With the number of property transactions falling through between Jan to May 2021 close to 145,000, this is 34% higher than the equivalent period in 2019. With geography playing a major part in fall throughs, certain areas are more prone to broken chains and buyers dropping out.

Fall-throughs are now:
  • More likely to be in London, the North East, the South East, and the East of England.
  • Fall throughs are significantly less likely to be in Scotland.
  • More likely to be in flats and detached property types
  • More likely to be with properties priced over £250k.

Get Agent:

The average property is now taking 274 days to sell from the point of listing online to being ‘marked as completed’ by the Land Registry.

Out of these 274 days, just 118 days are attributed to finding a buyer, and the remaining 156 days are the final conveyancing process to complete the sale, which equate to more than five and half months leaving some homeowners ‘stuck in limbo’.

Lucy Barber from Forsters law-firm based in Mayfair London, said recently in ‘The Times’ that in the rush to complete property sales ahead of the SDLT deadline has also led to an increase in the cost of conveyancing which varies greatly according to where you live, with services ‘ranging from £1,000 to £5,000’.

Jeremy Leaf, who runs an estate agency in Finchley, North London, said that 'different solicitors had quoted his agency £2,500 and £6,500 for the same £1.27 million property sale’.

Rightmove:

According to data, there are 704,000 sales going through the conveyancing process in Britain. This is over 275,000 more than the previous record of 428,633 set in May 2017, it is the highest number Rightmove have seen in a decade.

Property prices coming to market have risen by 0.8% in June, compared to 1.8% in May and 2.1% in April, which alongside Rightmove analysis of millions of homeowners, indicate an ‘early sign of a slowing in the pace of the current hectic market’ and the bubble may soon pop.

Rightmove’s Director of property data Tim Bannister warns homeowners to be ‘mindful that the market is now showing early signs of cooling’ and to air on the side of caution if they think they can over price a property, he advises ‘caution against sellers being tempted to ask their agent to put their property on for a price that’s much higher than market value’.

VERDICT:

There are two separate but related issues facing the market right now – the start of the market cooling and the significant number of chains collapsing. Both issues could have a significant impact on the housing market and your decision to move.

So, if you’re looking for a “Plan B” for your next move and want to avoid fall throughs and guarantee the completion of your home sale, book in a consultation with our friendly team to find out how Spring can help you get moving.

Our sell house fast service can step in and fix a broken chain, we buy any house in any location, and our service guarantees your home sale with no fall throughs getting your plans back on track.

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