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An online estate agency claims fall-throughs have now reached 48 per cent in some places.
Research by the London-focussed agency Nested claims a part of central London - in the SWV1 postcode, which encompasses Victoria, Westminster and Chelsea - saw 48 per cent of sales fall through over the 12 month period up to August this year.
That’s closely followed by part of nearby SW1X - Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Westminster - which saw a fall-through rate of 43 per cent.
A section of another nearby postcode - SW5, covering parts of Earl’s Court, Kensington and Chelsea - had 41 per cent of sales collapse.
In London as a whole, Nested claims 21 per cent of sales fell through during the year under analysis, and a quarter of those collapsed within a fortnight of an offer being accepted.
One individual in the Putney area saw their deal fall through after 345 days.
The subject of fall-throughs is under the microscope at the moment as the government continues to examine ways of shortening the sales process while at the same time making it more transparent to buyers and sellers alike.
The first quarter of 2020 is still scheduled to see the start of a pilot project with versions of Reservation Agreements being tested in two parts of the country involving a small number of estate agents and conveyancers. The possible wordings of different agreements are thought to have been agreed recently.
In addition, research by the Home Buying and Selling Group - involving industry experts discussing ideas to be fed into the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - continues to probe the viability of more upfront information being supplied to prospective buyers.
In the meantime Nested claims to have its own solution to the fall through problem: it allows the sellers of the properties to act ‘chain-free’ by providing them with a cash advance so they can negotiate the optimum price for their next property.
“We believe the way people move home in the UK is outdated and broken and we’re on a mission to fix it by taking power away from estate agents and putting it back into the hands of consumers” says Nested - which is of course itself an estate agency.
Nested spokesman Ben Bailey says: ”We’re the only estate agent to offer a dedicated progression team who manage all aspects of both your house sale and purchase at the same time. Sometimes a fall-through is unavoidable, but we remove the risk for home sellers.”