35% of house sales fell through in 2023

More than 35% of property sales fell through in 2023, according to Quick Move Now’s latest figures.

49% of the sales that fell through in 2023 were caused by buyers changing their mind, attempting to renegotiate the agreed purchase price, or pulling out after the property survey. Another 19% were attributed to chain-break.

Why did property sales fall through in 2023?

ReasonPercentage of failed sales
Buyer changed mind, attempted to renegotiate, or withdrew after property survey49%
Slow progress17%
Buyer struggled to secure mortgage10%
Change in buyer circumstances3%
Legal issues2%

Danny Luke, Quick Move Now’s managing director, explained: “2023 was a challenging year for the property market. Although the predicted market crash never materialised, we did see a significant slowing of the market. According to HMRC, sales volumes fell 22% year-on-year. We also saw a modest price correction.

“One of the biggest obstacles for the property market throughout 2023 was a mismatch between buyer and seller expectations. Buyers were keen to get a bargain, but many sellers were still hoping for near 2021 prices.

“Mortgage interest rates also made things difficult, impacting affordability and encouraging many would-be buyers to delay their move.”

What does 2024 hold?

Danny adds: “As we enter the new year, both inflation and mortgage interest rates are falling, yet confidence still remains relatively low. There are predictions that the Bank of England may lower its base rate later in the year. If this happens, we could well see renewed confidence and enthusiasm in the market. With rent prices continuing to be a challenge for many young people, there is scope for significant demand at the bottom of the market.

“With all of the challenges thrown at the property market over the last 12 months, it’s little surprise that the biggest cause of failed property sales is the buyer changing their mind or trying to negotiate the purchase price. Chain-break has also had a big impact on the number of sales that have fallen through. During the post-covid property market boom, a chain-break could quickly and easily be fixed. That’s not the case in a slower property market. It can take weeks or even months to tie-up another sale, which will often lead to the whole chain collapsing.

“Buyer uncertainty also shows in the number of property sales that fell through in 2023 due to slow progress. We’ve heard stories of buyers seeming very keen at first, but then getting cold feet and going quiet. Sellers are only happy to hold on for so long before they get fed up and pull out of the sale to put their property back on the market.”

Top tips for a successful house sale

If you’re hoping to secure a property sale this year, there are a few things you can do to bolster your chances of success.

Price your property attractively

Be realistic about how the market is performing in your local area and what else is on the market. When homeowners are competing for buyers, you need to make sure your property is well-presented and well-priced.

Choose a proactive estate agent

In a slow property market, agents need to be proactive to secure a sale. This means vetting buyers well, gathering thorough feedback after viewings, and working hard to achieve the best price possible.

Keep communicating

Your solicitor and estate agent will play a key role in effective communication with your buyer. It’s important that any concerns are addressed as quickly as possible to maximise your chances of a successful sale.

Be open to compromise

If your buyer attempts to renegotiate the purchase price, it’s important to listen to their justification for doing so. If the property survey has highlighted issues they weren’t aware of, it’s advisable to work with your buyer to find a mutually acceptable solution. Your estate agent should be able to advise whether your buyer’s request is reasonable or not.

Consider your options

If you’re up against a tight deadline or want to avoid the uncertainty of selling on the open market, a genuine cash home buyer will be able to offer you a quick and guaranteed property sale. At Quick Move Now we buy every property with our own cash funds. This means we can purchase properties and have the money in your bank account in as little as 7 days.

Get your cash offer now