A prominent industry supplier has produced startling statistics about the numbers of fall throughs in just the first 10 weeks or so of 2022.
Upfront information provider Gazeal says that so far this year - up to March 17 - there has been an astonishing 53,856 sales collapsing, in well under three months of 2022.
According to property data consultancy TwentyEA, there has been a sale collapsing to the equivalent of every two minutes this year.
Gazeal warns that if the trends so far continue across 2022, some 100,000 transactions will have collapsed by the middle of the year and 200,000 to 250,000 transactions in total for the year.
“This is just ridiculous when you consider the alternative solutions out there, which help to lower the risk of fall-throughs from occurring” according to Gazeal chief executive Bryan Mansell.
Mansell says: “Not only is there a greater offering of upfront information, so buyers and sellers alike know where they stand and don’t face any nasty surprises further down the line, but also digital reservation agreements, modern and traditional auctions, and other schemes which can be transformative for a property transaction by helping to commit both buyer and seller to a deal.”
And Mansell believes that the three-stage proposals put forward by Trading Standards to increase the volume of information in property details still do not go far enough.
By the end of April all property listings must include the council tax band or rate (for lettings and sales), as well as the property price and tenure information (for sales). Over the coming weeks, data fields for these particulars will start to appear on the portals.
Then later changes - again introduced by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team - will mean agents will have to add further ‘material information’. This would include, for example, restrictive covenants, flood risk and other specific factors that may impact certain properties.
Mansell comments: “The recent announcement by National Trading Standards is very welcome and has been a long time coming. But the housing market, and all of those who operate within, are still suffering from high numbers of deals collapsing.
“There are solutions for this exact problem right here, right now, and the industry needs to get better at offering these solutions to the public to prevent or significantly lower the risks with private treaty sales.”
He says this issue continues to have a serious impact on agents, conveyancers and other suppliers in the property industry, and causes hold-ups for consumers.
Mansell believes the government, Trading Standards and the industry need to go further and faster with the three-stage plan.
“Faster action is required if we don’t want to see the number of fall-throughs remaining stubbornly high. It is better for professional estate agents to lead the change - after all, they are the experts in their markets."
And he concludes: “I’ve said it plenty, but more upfront information is a win-win-win as far as I can see. We need to support all parts of the transaction if we truly want to improve the home buying and selling process, and make it faster, more robust and more transparent.”