Number of property sales falling through in the UK reaches a decade high

The number of house sales falling through before completion in the UK is rising up to 38.8% at the beginning of 2018 from 34.9% in the first quarter of 2017, the latest research has found.

This compares to 21.6% in 2016, and 22.6% in 2015. The lowest in the last 10 years was a fall through rate of 20.5% in 2013, according to figures released by independent home buyer Quick Move Now.

It means that this quarter has seen the highest rate for a decade and the biggest reason appears to be buyers changing their minds.

‘The start of 2018 has been difficult for the UK property market. Although we can attribute some changes in the fall through rate to the usual seasonal peaks and troughs, ongoing Brexit uncertainty and strict lending criteria are certainly contributing to increased market caution and fewer successful property sales,’ said Danny Luke, Quick Move Now’s managing director.

He pointed out that a shortage of supply also remains an issue in many areas. ‘This means those that are keen to move, or have no choice, find themselves in a very challenging market,’ he explained.

Of the property sales that were unsuccessful, some 46% were attributed to the buyer changing their mind or the seller feeling that the sale was not progressing quickly enough. A further 23% fell through because either the buyer or seller wanted to renegotiate after the initial deal had been agreed, and more than one in 10 of the sales that fell through did so because the property survey highlighted issues that caused the buyer to pull out of the sale.

Strict lending criteria is also playing a role, the report shows, with 11.5% of sales that fell through doing so because the buyer was unable to secure sufficient funding from their mortgage provider. The remaining 8% of failed house sales were the victim of a collapsed property chain.