250% rise in non-proceedable buyers

Figures from homebuying company Quick Move Now show a 250% rise in non-proceedable buyers. This means a greater number of would-be buyers are beginning their property search before selling their current home. It is also taking a higher number of viewings to get a property sold, at an average of 17 viewings.

Danny Luke, Quick Move Now’s managing director, says: “13% of people viewing properties are currently not proceedable, up from 3.7% last year. This increase in buyers looking for their next home before selling their current property is a marked difference from 2021/2022. At the height of the market, it was impossible to get a property viewing unless you were chain-free or already sold subject to contract. Now, sales volumes have reduced to such an extent that estate agents are happy to entertain speculative viewings from non-proceedable buyers in a bid to get properties sold. They know that, in the current climate, few are wanting to put their property on the market unless they’re sure there is something on the market they want to move to.”

The data from Quick Move Now looks at the circumstances of people who book viewings of the properties they have for sale on the open market. The properties are spread throughout England and Wales, and vary in size and asking price, offering a good snapshot of the market nationally.

The figures show a number of different trends; notably a sharp drop in interest from buy-to-let investors and a rise in viewings from cash buyers and chain-free buyers.

Danny says: “It’s been well-documented that current market conditions mean an increasing number of landlords are considering selling up. It will therefore come as little surprise that a smaller percentage of property viewings are with buy-to-let investors. However, some may be surprised that the drop is as much as 56%.

“A 22% drop in the percentage of viewings with first-time buyers is also interesting. Falling property prices would, ordinarily, entice more first-time buyers onto the property ladder. Unfortunately, high interest rates and inflation are currently cancelling out any financial benefit of lower prices for most first-time buyers. This means many of them are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, in the hope that both prices and interest rates will continue to fall.”

Buyer’s situationTrend (2022 vs 2023 figures)
Not proceedable (needs to sell current property)+250%
First-time buyers-22%
Cash buyers+10%
Buy-to-let landlords-56%
Investors looking to renovate and re-sell-6%
Chain-free buyers+17%
Current property already sold subject to status-3%

Richard Pope, a software engineer from Wiltshire, is currently trying to move house. He’s a motivated buyer – hoping to move into catchment area for the secondary school he and his wife are keen for their eldest daughter to attend next year – but is struggling to move forward. Despite strong interest in his current property, he’s unable to make an offer on the home he wants to buy because all of his prospective buyers have yet to sell their own property.

Richard explains: “We’ve had a huge amount of interest in our current property and have already received some offers, but unfortunately all of our viewings and offers so far have been people who have a property to sell before they’re able to proceed. This means we feel unable to offer on the property we would like to buy. Until our buyers are proceedable, we have no negotiating power. We also don’t have clarity on our budget until we know how much we’ll achieve for our current property.

“We’re aware that the property market is currently moving more slowly, so we don’t know how long we’re going to need to wait before we get an offer from a proceedable buyer. We know that there have been several other viewings on the property we’re interested in, so we’re concerned that we might lose the property if someone else is able to sell their current property before we can. It’s now more about which buyer can move forward rather than which one is willing to pay the highest price.”

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