Landlord Knowledge - Home of the Savvy Buy to Let Property Investor

Lengthy property sale process dampens UK housing market momentum

As UK property prices reach new heights, Rightmove’s latest House Price Index warns that it now takes an average of seven months to complete a property sale, from listing to completion.

Record Prices Amid Slow Sales
Despite a strong spring season fueled by pent-up demand, the average time it takes from listing a property to completion remains lengthy at about seven months. This extended period is becoming a significant concern, especially for sellers aiming to move before the year-end festivities. Rightmove’s data shows a record average asking price of £375,131 for properties coming onto the market, a 0.8% increase equating to an additional £2,807. This rise is primarily driven by the top end of the market, which has seen a 1.3% price increase compared to last year.

Technology as a Catalyst for Change
The ongoing review by MPs into the sluggish property completion process in England and Wales highlights the need for improvements. Rightmove suggests that providing more accurate property information earlier and better integrating the various parties through technology could streamline transactions. Tim Bannister, Director of Property Science at Rightmove, expressed frustration over the slow legal processes, stating, “The extremely lengthy legal completion process is a frustrating barrier to home-movers converting agreed sales into completed transactions more quickly.”

Industry Insights and Future Outlook
Industry experts are weighing in on the situation. Dan Salmons, Chief Executive at Coadjute, believes technology could significantly shorten completion times by improving communication and secure data access. Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, and Nathan Emerson, Chief Executive of Propertymark, both acknowledge the challenges posed by current economic conditions but see potential for growth if inflation and interest rates stabilise. Matt Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, notes an uptick in buyer confidence due to lower mortgage rates, which could lead to increased demand, particularly in London.

The need for faster, more efficient property transactions is clear as the market adjusts to new economic realities and technological advancements. With the government’s ongoing scrutiny and the industry’s call for innovation, there is hope for a more streamlined and rapid process in the near future.