More than half of sales fell through at height of pandemic uncertainty


More than half (52%) of house sales in England and Wales fell through before completion in the third quarter of 2020, as Covid uncertainty plagued the property market.

The figures, which have been released today by Quick Move Now, also show an annual fall through rate of 43%.

The reasons for failed property sales tell a story of how the property market faired as the global pandemic unfolded. During the first and second quarters of 2020, the primary reason property sales fell through was that the buyer changed their mind and pulled out of the sale.

This accounted for 36 percent of failed sales in each quarter. The third quarter saw new challenges for those buying and selling houses, as most property sales failed due to the buyer being refused lending or the buyer pulling out after a property survey.

The final quarter of the year saw the majority of failed sales attributed to buyers pulling out after a property survey or the buyer being gazumped by a higher offer.

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Across the whole of 2020, the top five reasons for property sales falling through were:

  1. Buyer changed their mind and pulled out of the sale (31%)
  2. Buyer unable to secure a mortgage (15%)
  3. Buyer or seller pulled out of the sale due to slow progress (13%)
  4. Buyer attempted to renegotiate the agreed sale price (11 %)
  5. Buyer pulled out of the sale after a property survey (11%)

Danny Luke, Quick Move Now’s Managing Director, said: “In terms of what 2021 holds for the property market, ‘uncertainty’ is the buzzword. It largely depends on what happens in the Spring, when both the stamp duty measures and furlough scheme are due to come to an end.

“We also have the added economic pressure of the Brexit transition period coming to an end on 31 December, and few are able to predict, with confidence, the impact that move will have on jobs, finances and the property market.”

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