Home moves in England and Wales are struggling to complete: Landmark

Although the market is stabilizing for most of the deal pipeline, deals are lengthening between sale subject to contract (SSTC) and completion, according to the latest market data from Landmark Information Group.

The latest report shows that most of the deal pipeline is performing well, with listings, SSTC, and searches deviating no more than 5% on a monthly basis, compared to 2019.

This contrasts with the first quarter where the market was more volatile, fluctuating up to 18% during the quarter.

However, the number of deals nearing completion is down 11% from Q2 2019 levels and down 7% on average from the first quarter of this year as buyer confidence is increasingly impacted by cost of living pressures and rising interest rates.

After a stronger first quarter close, data showed the market returning to lower supply levels in April and May. Listings picked up in June, but Landmark notes that confidence will only return if there is consistency in consecutive months.

Elsewhere, demand slowed slightly in the second quarter due to interest rates and affordability issues. It found that in June supply had returned to the same levels as in 2019, indicating more choice for buyers.

Landmark says that confidence is further hampered by long transaction times and expired mortgage offers.

It reveals that the average transaction time increased by 27 days from the first half of 2019 when it was 91 days to the first half of this year when it stands at 118 days.

The data also shows that the ratio of valuations per offer increased by 15% in the first five months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2019, indicating that false starts are now on the increase.

Meanwhile, sellers are increasingly emboldened by rising house prices as they seek the best possible deal to finance their subsequent purchase, which Landmark says is further contributing to the lengthening of chains. .

Commenting on the latest data, Landmark Information Group Managing Director Simon Brown said: “While the real estate market is stable across much of the deal chain, we are starting to see the friction between the hesitation of the buyer and seller optimism about price play into completion rates. – already struggling due to inefficiencies and disconnects in the transaction process.

“As buyers become increasingly aware of the pressures of cost of living and higher interest rates, there is a need to build confidence in the transaction process itself. Movers need to be able to be sure that a transaction will go smoothly – at the moment the fragility of the system creates a real risk of chain collapse for those who want to move in a reasonable time,” Brown adds.

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