Yesterday we blogged about stamp duty and the problems being caused by the huge surge in demand from buyers as they rush to complete sales before the payment holiday ends in March.
Today, new data from Movewise proves the point. The multi-agent property seller looked at almost 500,000 sales across the UK and says homes are now taking almost a third longer to sell once under offer because of conveyancing delays.
Hold-ups with property searches and conveyancers struggling to tackle the backlog, has seen the average time to exchange contracts once an offer has been accepted increase from 96 to 124 days. That means any property that went under offer from late November onwards, may not complete in time to beat the stamp duty deadline.
Scotland is facing the worst delays with the average time to exchange contracts once an offer has been made increasing from 70 to 96 days, from 87 to 115 days in the North East and from 97 to 125 days in London.
There is no way to unblock the current bottleneck in the conveyancing process in time to get the market moving by the end of March but in future digital technology could come to the rescue of councils and conveyancers in the form of the UPRN. Every address in the country now has a Unique Property Reference Number or UPRN that could be used to tie together every piece of information relating to a particular property. If it is widely adopted, it will completely transform the housing market. Local authority searches could be carried out instantly; risks such as subsidence or flooding would be immediately flagged up; and conveyancing could be streamlined with timescales dramatically reduced.
The concept is a real game changer and the leading property industry bodies are now lobbying government to promote the very real benefits the UPRN could deliver. Their efforts won’t help those sales currently facing delays but adoption of the UPRN could vastly improve the outlook for anyone buying a home in the future.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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