Property Sales Taking Much Longer To Complete Than Normal …

OnTheMarket (OTM) suggests that despite a noticeable slowdown in property sales, the confidence of buyers and sellers remains unscathed.

According to the portal's most recent Property Sentiment Index, the proportion of homes reaching the sold subject to contract (SSTC) stage within 30 days has fallen from 50% in April 2022 to 37% in the previous month, a minor decrease from 38% in March 2023.

Interestingly, homes selling within 60 days increased from 19% to 21% between April 2022 and 2023. Moreover, 19% of homes reached SSTC within 150 days last month, rising from 10% in April 2022. Jason Tebb, OnTheMarket's CEO, argued, "market conditions have shifted since the double-digit price growth and the 'race for space'. The market now sees a welcomed return to stability, possibly affected by the Easter holidays and the typical market dip when families take breaks and property search is not a priority."

The index reveals that 70% of active buyers and 64% of sellers in the UK were optimistic about their property prospects in the next three months, a statistic that aligns well with previous reports.

In Tebb's view, "while regional variations are typical, there was little countrywide fluctuation in April. The market has found stability following the uncertainty caused by September's mini-Budget, which drove fixed-rate mortgages upwards. While inflation is declining more slowly than anticipated and another interest rate hike can't be ruled out, forecasts indicate the end of these increases is near."

Writing directly to the government, a group of property industry businesses, including Landmark Information Group, Mortgage Advice Bureau, L&C Mortgages, Yopa, Simplify, O’Neill Patient, Enact, and TwentyCi, have jointly appealed to the government for support in streamlining the home buying and selling process. The industry faces slower responsiveness and longer transaction times, up to 133 days to complete, almost 80% longer than in 2007, as per Landmark Information Group data.

Landmark CEO Simon Brown expressed, "with systemic challenges leading to inefficiencies and delays, home-moving is stressful for movers and wasteful for property professionals. Our goal is to cultivate a well-connected market with shared data and insights. To realize this, we urge the government to expedite reform for a smoother home-moving process."

The industry's open letter encourages the government to collaborate in creating a 'Time to Buy' strategy to plan for the market's future and foster the adoption of technology and innovation.

Yopa CEO, Verona Frankish, stressed the significance of the 'Time to Buy' strategy for the vitality of the property market and the convenience of home movers, ensuring transactions proceed within a reasonable time frame with certainty.

Ben Thompson, deputy CEO at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said, “the UK needs a dynamic housing market where home movers can proceed with confidence and ease. Solving this issue will not only make lives easier but also stimulate the UK economy through the ripple effect of increased home moves each year.”

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