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Revealed! The best areas for sellers to find a chain-free buyer

Almost a third of homes sold across Britain have been purchased by a cash buyer, new research shows.

Analysis of the latest Land Registry transaction data between May 2022 and April 2023 shows 31% of home sales were to cash buyers.

The proportion rises to as high as 61% in some parts of the country including East Lindsey and 60% in North Norfolk.


Other areas to make the top 10 for cash buyers include West Devon (56%), the City of London (55%), Argyll and Bute (54%), Ceredigion (54%), East Devon (53%), Torridge (53%), Powys (52%) and Kensington and Chelsea (52%). 

In contrast, sellers have the slimmest chance of securing a cash buyer in Barking and Dagenham, where they accounted for just 8% of all homes sold.

The analysis, by House Buyer Bureau, also identified the best places for sellers to find first-time buyers, where there is also the benefit of being chain-free.
A fifth of sales in the South East were to first-time buyers during the period.

London (14%) and the North West (11%) also had some of the highest levels of first-time buyer activity. 

Chris Hodgkinson, managing director of House Buyer Bureau, said: “A chain-free transaction has always been the best way to tackle the otherwise uncertain task of selling a home. But it’s fair to say that in the current market the appeal has never been greater. 

“A consistent string of interest rate hikes has cultivated a great deal of uncertainty in recent months, with many buyers not knowing where they stand from one week to the next when it comes to their borrowing ability. 

“As a result, buyer demand levels have fallen, chain breaks have become all too common and transaction timelines have increased, factors that only increase the level of stress and financial strain felt by those attempting to sell. 

“While first-time buyers offer a greater degree of certainty, it’s cash buyers who hold the strongest position in the current market. The good news is that, as our research shows, they are extremely active in many pockets of the nation.

“The compromise, of course, is that you will have to throw them a bone in the form of a reduction in asking price. However, for the majority of sellers, this is a fair trade if it means getting their sale over the line in a continuously cooling market.”

Table shows the areas of the market with the highest proportion of cash buyers over the last 12 months (May 2022 to April 2023 - latest available)
    Location Cash sales vol - last 12 months Mortgage sales vol - last 12 months Est total - cash and mortgage sales vol - last 12 months Cash sales vol proportion %
    East Lindsey 1,161 749 1,910 61%
    North Norfolk 882 586 1,468 60%
    West Devon 421 327 748 56%
    City of London 74 60 134 55%
    Argyll and Bute 968 815 1,783 54%
    Ceredigion 388 332 720 54%
    East Devon 1,160 1,041 2,201 53%
    Torridge 470 423 893 53%
    Powys 710 646 1,356 52%
    Kensington and Chelsea 800 740 1,540 52%
    Derbyshire Dales 438 408 846 52%
    Orkney Islands 149 140 289 52%
    Na h-Eileanan Siar 156 147 303 51%
    Rother 762 721 1,483 51%
    Dumfries and Galloway 1,181 1,140 2,321 51%
    Source: Gov - UK House Price Index

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