Younger house buyers expect sales to take weeks rather than months, as lengthening transaction times during Covid continue to cause friction in the sector.
A survey by Property Information Products (PIP) found that while the average exchange time is currently 21 weeks, more than half of those under 30 think a sale should take between one to three weeks if all the relevant information is available, while more than 60% of respondents believe a property sale should exchange in less than five weeks.
The remaining respondents reckon two to six weeks to exchange is an appropriate target.
Thirty years ago, the time between agreeing a sale and exchange of contracts took on average four weeks – and that was before mobile phones or emails, says Tim Main, PIP founder. He adds: “Clearly there are significant improvements needing to be made to the whole process. We think this shows house buyers and sellers are keen to have certainty in the process sooner rather than later.”
With extended exchange times, many estate agents are being put under pressure to chase conveyors by frustrated clients. Earlier this year, a campaign urging those working within the property sales process to ‘be nice to each other’ launched to stem the tide of intolerant and aggressive emails in the sector.
More than 90% of those surveyed by PIP agreed that more use of a dataroom, such as the PIP Vaults where seller, agent and the seller’s conveyancer can post property documents, would help.
The main focus of displaying ‘up front’ information during this time is to inform buyers better and reduce fall through rates. All the information is then available to a buyer’s conveyancer, so reducing exchange time.