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Conveyancing delays: 365,000 sales to miss deadline, claims report

Property data firm TwenctyCi estimates that conveyancing delays are worst in South, South West, North West and East of England regions.

Nigel Lewis


The much reported delays in conveyancing will see 365,000 sales complete too late to take advantage of the the stamp duty holiday, it has been estimated.

A report by property data firm TwentyCi says that this represents property sales agreed after the September cut-off date after which, the Conveyancing Association has said, sales agreed are unlikely to be completed in time to benefit from Chancellor’s initiative which runs out on March 31st next year.

The report also estimates that this will cost home movers £4 billion stamp duty payments that otherwise would have been avoided.

But it also wonders whether buyers who have decided to move based largely on the stamp duty savings – that Which? says will be £15,000 on average – will pull out of purchases when they realise the extra costs they face.

“Whilst the increased activity is undoubtedly a great boost for the property market both in strengthening prices and volumes, many of these transactions were predicated on the reduction in stamp duty which is currently scheduled to conclude on March 31st 2021,” says Ian Lancaster, CEO TwentyCi Group.

Regional variations

The conveyancing jams also vary regionally with the most transactions affected in the South East (49,000), North West (38,000),  South West (36,000) and East of England (33,000) worst affected.

Although conveyancers and estate agents will miss out on fees, TwentyCi says these lost sales will cost the wider economy £13.8 billion.

“A home mover is the most valuable consumer on the planet from the period running up to their move and carrying on for many months post the move as they settle into their new home,” the reports says.

“They have a much greater propensity to purchase homewares, furniture, carpets and commence DIY projects than a non-moving consumer.

“This loss of 325,000 moves will have a significant dampening effect on local economies and could result in a loss of jobs in the retail and associated industries.”

October 27, 2020

One comment

  1. ‘The Dickensian, snail pace, paper driven conveyancing process, combined with the slowness of mortgage lenders, is with Covid-19 at break point.

    The chancellor needs to ‘flatten the curve’ to complete; and have 31st of March as a date by which a sale has been agreed rather than completed, allowing stakeholders to exchange and complete in normal time without the pressure, drama and panic that is coming.’

    ‘As an agent in 1988, I saw chancellor Nigel Lawson cause; an unnecessary date specific completion race, rampant house inflation, pressure on the property system, and a boom to bust property market. The last thing the UK economy requires at present, with Brexit and Covid-19.’

    ‘Whenever a chancellor tinkers with SDLT, there is an equal reaction, 1988, boom to bust, 2017, scramble to buy a second home and house inflation, 2020 race to save up to 15K; resulting in house inflation and potentially hundreds of thousands missing the SDLT holiday cut off, causing mayhem.’

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