New research from Countrywide suggests that the growth of the private rental sector and the higher number of mortgages means far fewer sales involve chains.
In a survey revealed in the Financial Times, Countrywide says that whereas one in 10 transactions in Britain had no chains, that proportion is now one third.
This is because the higher number of chain-free buyers include those who are currently renting and who therefore do not have a home to sell, and because there are also now significant number of landlords who sell to other landlords - again avoiding chains.
Countrywide’s research involves a league table of locations of chain-free sellers.
In Hyndburn, Lancashire, the seller is chain-free in 76 per cent of transactions. In Liverpool it is 62 per cent and in Nottingham 50 per cent. The north west of England is the country’s most chain-free region for sellers, with an average figure of 40 per cent.
The research claims chains are most common in London - but even there, where high prices oblige many sellers to cash-in their equity before being able to buy - some 26 per cent of sellers do not have that chain.
“The days of buyers and sellers being caught in chains look numbered” the FT has been told by Countrywide’s research director, Johnny Morris. “If you’re on the housing ladder and you can afford to move up and trade, the reduction in chains makes both selling and buying easier.”