The Express: Property sales are taking over eight months to complete as stamp duty deadline approaches.

As featured in ‘The Express’: Saturday 16th Jan 2021 by Millie Bull

PROPERTY sales are taking over eight months from the day of listing to the day of completion, according to new research, with almost half of sales falling through. The worrying data comes as Britons scrabble to complete property sales before the stamp duty holiday comes to an end.

UK homes are taking eight-and-a-half months to sell, with most homes being viewed eighteen times before an offer is made. The shocking figures were revealed in a study of 1,000 UK home sellers by residential home-buying service Spring. The research, which was conducted by Atomik Research for Spring, looked at those who had sold their property in the last 24 months.

Just under half of the respondents (47 percent) claimed they had experienced an offer collapsing.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of sellers made improvements to their homes before they listed them in order to attract buyers.

A quarter of these sellers spent between £1,000 – 2,500 on renovations with 24 percent spending between £2,500 – £5,000.

Cormac Henderson, CEO of Spring, said: “Selling your home can be a hugely uncertain process with many unknowns, particularly during the current new lockdown.

“Those who have been stuck waiting for a sale, involved in a chain or having had sales collapse know just how stressful and miserable it can be, particularly if they have time pressures with making their onward move.”

Two sellers from Bristol called Oliver and Alexander revealed the true cost of sales falling through.

The homeowners found their dream home and were keen to sell their own property.

Their home was on the market for eight months before they found a buyer who was keen to make an offer.

Unfortunately, after a plethora of delays, including legal issues, the transaction fell through.

They were then put under more stress to find a buyer as the mortgage on their new property was due to expire.

Oliver said: “With the transaction falling through and the housing market looking increasingly uncertain due to COVID-19 and the associated delays, we started to get quite worried that we weren’t going to be able to sell in time and that we’d miss out on our new home.

“It would have meant having to start the mortgage process all over again and potentially losing our ideal plot.”

Their home was bought by Spring which is a home-buying service allowing sellers to sell their home and go forward with their new one.

Spring typically pays full market value for the property, minus fees, taking on the sale and onward transaction.

Alexander added: “It is reassuring to know that there are solutions available beyond waiting on the open market, which can really drag on, particularly with COVID-19-related issues.”

With the stamp duty holiday fast approaching, many Britons are rushing to get their property transactions complete.

The SDLT holiday began in July and is set to end on March 31.

The holiday means that any property bought for under £500,000 is exempt from paying stamp duty.

There have been calls for the Government to extend the deadline since the UK was plunged into its third lockdown.

However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has not mentioned extending the tax holiday period.

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