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Fall through mayhem – transaction times delayed by final legal stages

The pandemic property market boom and resulting market backlog continue to impact the property transaction timeline, with the average time to complete increasing by over three weeks so far in 2022.

That is according to property purchasing specialist HBB Solutions, which steps in to purchase a property on tight deadlines to avoid a chain breaking.

Average time to sell in the UK


The latest data on general market performance shows that the average property is taking 248 days to sell through the traditional route.

On average, HBB has seen their time to sell sit at 85.4 days in 2022, considerably faster than the traditional route.

But the current market backlog means that even HBB has fallen foul of timeline delays, with an increase in the time it’s taking between instructing a solicitor and completing on a sale. 

Their data shows that so far in 2022, transactions are taking three weeks longer to complete versus the pre-pandemic market of 2019 – a 47% increase. 

Regional transaction times

According to the data, the biggest increase in England and Wales has been the East Midlands where the current time for a quick sale is averaging 103 days, up by 159% (63 days) when compared to the pre-pandemic market. 

In London, the average property is taking 77 days from the point a solicitor is instructed to the point of completion, the second-largest pandemic market delay, up 120% (42 days) since 2019. 

Meanwhile, in the West Midlands, it’s taking 50 days longer, equating to a 113% increase when compared to the pre-pandemic market. 

But not every area of the market is suffering to the same extent and, in fact, HBB Solutions have seen their time to complete drop in both Wales (-13 days) and the East of England (-4 days) during the pandemic. 

It’s not all doom and gloom

Chris Hodgkinson, HBB Solutions’ managing director, says: “The pandemic property market boom has seen a substantial and sustained level of buyer activity sweep the market over the last two years and, as a result, homes sellers have been securing a buyer at great speed.”

“However, such heightened demand has led to significant delays during the final legal stages, which it’s fair to say, weren’t the most streamlined to begin with. This had led to a backlog of transactions left in limbo between accepting an offer and completing and this has been the contributing factor behind a prolonged home selling timeline.”

He adds: “Even professional quick sale specialists such as ourselves are being affected and it is taking around three weeks longer on average. Despite this increase in sale time, we are still able to utilise our expertise and purchase properties in almost any time scale, with the fastest being four days, while the majority are completing in a month based on the client’s preferred completion date.”

Table shows demand for chain-free properties in each city and the annual change

Demand chain free - June 2021

Demand chain free - June 2022

Cardiff 51% 66% 15%
Edinburgh 21% 34% 13%
Newcastle 49% 59% 11%
Birmingham 46% 52% 6%
Leicester 49% 54% 5%
Bristol 71% 75% 4%
Swansea 59% 63% 4%
Manchester 36% 40% 4%
Southampton 59% 62% 3%
Belfast 59% 62% 3%
Nottingham 63% 65% 2%
Bradford 53% 55% 2%
London 40% 41% 1%
Leeds 65% 65% 1%
Portsmouth 67% 67% 0%
Sunderland 56% 56% 0%
Bournemouth 65% 65% -1%
Plymouth 71% 70% -1%
Liverpool 52% 51% -1%
Sheffield 66% 65% -1%
Glasgow 18% 13% -5%
Cities average 53% 56% 3%

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