Failed property sales fall to lowest level since Summer 2021

The percentage of property sales collapsing before completion has fallen significantly, according to new figures.

Property company Quick Move Now suggests 20% of property sales fell through before completion in the second quarter of this year. This is the lowest figure since Q3 2021, when we were at the height of the post-pandemic market boom.

Although the lower figures are good news for those keen to move, the reasons behind the failed sales suggest caution prevails in the market.

Half of failed sales have been attributed to the buyer pulling out after the property survey or unsuccessfully attempting to renegotiate the purchase price. The practice of reducing your offer after a sale has been agreed – known as gazundering – has become more of an issue as an imbalance between supply and demand has led to a buyer-dominated market.

Other reasons cited for failed sales include the buyer getting cold feet or making slow progress (25%), chain-break (13%) and the seller pulling out in favour of a different buyer (12%). Whilst it would usually be unlikely that sellers would pull out of a sale in a buyer’s market, property expert Danny Luke suggests this is a sign of how sensitive the current market is.

Danny says: “Things are picking up, but there is still an air of fragility in the market. Buyers are being cautious, and sellers are nervous. If a buyer is unresponsive or an offer comes in from someone paying cash, property owners are more willing to consider switching buyers.

“The other factor is pricing. In the current climate, every pound counts. Sellers want a fair price, and buyers don’t want to overpay. This tension can be felt throughout the market.

“Having said that, there are fewer time wasters at the moment. Those who are looking to move are serious and largely more resilient to the wider economic environment. This has resulted in a higher percentage of property sales completing successfully, which is obviously good news for anyone buying or selling.

“We’re also seeing a higher number of properties coming to the market, which demonstrates growing optimism.”

Regarding the impact of last week’s general election, Danny says: “The election results should also offer some much-needed stability. We’ll be waiting to see whether our new government offers any meaningful incentives to boost the market, but political stability is always better for the market than uncertainty.”

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