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Completion Delays Puts 1000’s of Property Sales at Risk

The stamp duty tax break comes to an end at the end of this month leading to many home buyers standing to lose out on considerable savings. It is expected that 40% of sales agreed before April 1st will not complete in time, leaving around 160,000 buyers approximately £15,000 worse off. There are currently 704,000 sales going through the conveyancing process with many people unsure as to whether they will still be able to take advantage of the savings.

From the July 1st the stamp duty threshold will be reduce to £250,000 until the end of September when it will return to £125,000 for movers and £300,000 for first-time buyers.

Many buyers are left precariously balanced in the middle of property chains, afraid that if even one person pulls out, the entire chain may collapse, putting them thousands of pounds out of pocket.

With conveyancers working around the clock in an attempt to meet the deadline and average time for property checks running up to six months, it is highly likely that many buyers worries will become a reality.

‘It’s a stressful time for movers, and solicitors have been working 24/7 to meet clients’ wishes,’ commented, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Stephanie Boyce.

‘Lots of factors came together creating a perfect storm of huge buyer demand.

‘Capacity is stretched across the board, from delays receiving mortgage offers, legal searches and unforeseen hold-ups further along the chain putting people at risk of not meeting the deadline.’

While there have been record house sales over the last few months the average time of completion is coming in at around 20 weeks. Conveyancers are working night and day to get through the backlog.

Director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, Beth Rudolf, says: ‘Through no-one’s fault, there are a number of log-jams to be worked through. Some lenders currently have telephone hold times of two hours, and some valuers are not responding to post-valuation queries, which makes the time to get to completion lengthier.

‘We understand this is a stressful time for all those seeking to complete before the deadline, but rest assured conveyancers are working flat out.’

Local authorities are also reporting a similar situation when it comes to property searches being requested, which has, according to Mojo Mortgages resulted in a postcode lottery when it comes to meeting the stamp duty deadline. It was discovered that the turn-around time for searches in the Ashfield District Council in Nottinghamshire was a mere 5 days, meanwhile in the London borough of Hackney they were waiting 180 days.


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