One in three property sales in England and Wales fell through before completion in the first quarter of 2021.
The 32 per cent fall through figure comes from Quick Move Now, a quick sale company.
The figure is 15 per cent higher than the fall-through rate in the last quarter of 2020, but that period was considered highly unusual because of lockdown timings. More significantly the 32 per cent rate for early 2021 is 11 per cent lower than the all-2020 fall-through rate of 43 per cent.
Some 25 per cent of fall throughs happened because the buyer failed to secure a mortgage; 37 per cent were because of buyers changing their minds or failing to negotiate a cheaper price.
Quick Move Now also claims gazumping played a part in 25 per cent of fall throughs.
Danny Luke, Quick Move Now’s managing director, says: “It’s hugely positive that the fall-through rate has dropped from the high annual rate we saw last year.
"We did see an exceptionally low fall-through rate in the final quarter of last year, so it’s not unexpected that we’ve seen a rise from that in the first quarter of 2021. There were several reasons for the low rates at the end of last year.
“Firstly, we had a large amount of pent-up demand after the first major national lockdown and people with a real need to move, for example due to relationship breakdown or for work commitments, were very motivated buyers and sellers. We also had the added encouragement of government stamp duty measures, with people keen to get their sales and purchases completed before the measures were due to come to an end in Spring of this year.
“Now those measures have been further extended, people are not feeling the same urgency. I believe this can be seen in the number of buyers pulling out of sales because they have changed their minds and also the general increase in the fall-through rate.
“Lender caution is also a clear factor, with eight percent of all property sales being impacted by difficulty securing a mortgage.This is something I would expect to see continue for some time to come, as lenders remain keen to ensure a secure position beyond the end of the stamp duty and furlough measures, when the true impact of covid becomes clear.”