Unsure buyers 'scupper house sales'

Unsure buyers 'scupper house sales'

More than 300,000 property transactions are falling through every year, due in large part to buyers pulling out of the deal, costing sellers a total of £400 million.

According to research conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance, a fifth of sellers have experienced a sale collapse, half incurred costs averaging £2,727, and one in ten incurred costs of more than £5K.

Overall, more than two thirds of the home sales that fell through did so because of buyer related reasons, including the buyer changing his mind/finding another property (39%) and the buyer’s finances not being in order (28%). Sales falling through further up in a chain accounted for 20% of collapsed sales.

Nearly one in ten sellers (8%) with a failed sale have experienced 'gazundering'; where the buyer lowered their offer just before the exchange of contracts.

The research comes after the Government announced plans to improve the home buying and selling process with a number of measures, including the introduction of voluntary reservation agreements. These legally binding agreements, advocated by HomeOwners Alliance, would require both buyers and sellers to put down a non-refundable deposit to commit both sides earlier in the process.

Commenting on the findings, Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance said:

“We often hear about would-be buyers losing their dream homes as a result of sellers accepting higher offers but less is said about sellers forking out thousands in wasted fees only for buyers to change their mind, leaving the seller back at square one.”

Samantha Kempe, co-founder of property buying business IMMO, which also conducted the research, said: "Sellers should be able to proceed with the sale of their property knowing what price they will receive and feeling assured that the sale will go through."

Latest figures from the Halifax suggested that weak demand for properties meant UK house prices saw the biggest monthly fall for nearly eight years during April. The lender said prices fell by 3.1% between March and April, the biggest drop since September 2010.

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