House sales taking 295 days to complete thanks to Covid

House sales taking 295 days to complete thanks to Covid

House sales taking 295 days to complete thanks to Covid

House sales taking 295 days to complete thanks to Covid

UK house buyers and sellers now wait for almost ten months to get their hands on keys and cash as the demand for property sees councils and legal professionals buried under an avalanche of admin.

A deep dive into data from property websites and the Land Registry has revealed the runaway impact of the stamp-duty reprieve for properties worth up to half a million pounds, which was introduced in July last year to keep the housing market afloat in the face of Covid lockdowns.

The resulting stampede to complete purchases worth up to £500,000, potentially saving up to £15,000 in tax, means the average time from listing a property to handing over the keys is up by a month and a half compared with this time last year.

The average time to accept an offer was down by 14 days to 124 days by the end of 2020, compared with the first half of the year when sellers were waiting an average of 138 days, as homebuyer demand recovered from the economic uncertainty of the first days of the pandemic.

But when it comes to completion – the notoriously fickle final stage of the transaction – the huge influx of buyers has caused delays.


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