The number of house sales falling through pre-completion during the first quarter of 2018 reached its highest level for this time of year for a decade, it is claimed.
Quick Move Now - a quick buy firm, which has monitored fall-throughs for many years - says the fall-through rate from January 1 to the end of March hit 38.8 per cent.
In the first quarter of 2008 the figure was 35.9 per cent but in most years since then the proportion was in the low 20 per cent range: however, in the first three months of 2017 the rate rose to 34.9 per cent and now this year has hit 38.8.
The figures come just two days after the government released its latest proposals which, it claims, will lead to simpler, faster and more reliable sales and purchases. However, its measures do not address directly the problem of fall throughs.
“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” explains Danny Luke, Quick Move Now's managing director.
“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.”
Of the property sales that were unsuccessful, Quick Move Now says 46 per cent were attributed to the buyer changing their mind or the seller feeling that the sale was not progressing quickly enough.
A further 23 per cent 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 since MMR is also playing a role, with 11.5 per cent of sales that fell through doing so because the buyer was unable to secure sufficient funding from their mortgage provider.
The remaining eight per cent of failed house sales were the victim of a collapsed property chain.