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Fall throughs hit 50% but Covid buyer panic now subsiding

The proportion of sales that fell through at the worst point of this year was 52 per cent it’s been claimed.

However that figure - in the third quarter of the year - is now subsiding according to Quick Move Now, the quick-buy company that monitors fall-throughs.

Even so, 2020 is ending with an average fall-through rate of 36 per cent.


During the first and second quarters of 2020, the primary reason property sales fell through was that the buyer changed their mind and pulled out. This accounted for over a third of failed sales in each quarter. 

“The third quarter saw new challenges for those buying and selling houses, as most property sales failed due to the buyer being refused lending or the buyer pulling out after a property survey” explains the company.

The final quarter of the year saw the majority of failed sales attributed to buyers pulling out after a property survey or the buyer being gazumped by a higher offer.

Danny Luke, Quick Move Now’s managing director, says: “It’s a word that has been bandied about a lot in 2020, but this year really has been unprecedented. Although not officially shut down, the UK property market effectively ground to a halt for almost a quarter of the year. Government measures, such as the furlough scheme and the stamp duty holiday, managed to avoid the much-anticipated price crash, but there is still considerable caution about what lies ahead.

“The first half of the year was consumed by uncertainty. 46 per cent of sales that failed during the first half of the year did so either because the buyer changed their mind or because they had a change in circumstances. There was a huge amount of uncertainty about the pandemic and the impact it would have on property prices, as many experts began predicting an imminent price crash. People also became increasingly concerned about the security of their jobs.

“Once the property market started moving again, government stamp duty measures provided a much-needed boost. We saw buyers and sellers return to the market quickly and enthusiastically. It was at this point, however, that we began to see the economic impact on lenders. 27 per cent of failed sales in the third quarter collapsed as a result of the buyer being refused lending.”

Across the whole of 2020, the top five reasons for property sales falling through were:

- Buyer changed their mind and pulled out of the sale (31 percent)

- Buyer unable to secure a mortgage (15 percent)

- Buyer or seller pulled out of the sale due to slow progress (13 percent)

- Buyer attempted to renegotiate the agreed sale price (11 percent)

- Buyer pulled out of the sale after a property survey (11 percent).

  • Stephen Hayter

    What is the methodology used by this company to measure fall throughs?

  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    According to data from TwentyCi the actual cancellation rate nationally is less than last year if the 12-months of 2020 are taken as a whole, so not sure what reporting a brief period of lockdown news has to do with reporting factual data. I would suggest that Danny Luke talks to Ian Lancaster or Katy Billany, gets some accurate data and reports it, otherwise it can damage credibility. Also, with massive shortage of property now listed, the cancellation rates look set to remain low, yes 31st March may be rocky, but the urge to sell and move is strong, with WFH being a factor when homeowners or renters need a place to both live and work from, looking to the future.


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