More than one in three house sales across England and Wales fell through before completion in the first quarter of 2017, new research has found.
Overall some 34% of transactions did not complete in the first three months of the year, an increase from the 31% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the figures from independent home buyer Quick Move Now.
The research shows that the most common reason for a sale falling through was due to the buyer stalling the process with 36% affected in this way. This differs from the previous quarter when the top reason, at 43%, was both buyers and sellers renegotiating for a better deal.
In the first quarter the second most common reason was related to the buyer pulling out due to survey issues, accounting for 14% of sales falling through while another 14% was due to the buyer trying to renegotiate the price.
Being unable to get a mortgage accounted for 9% of sales falling through, while the buyer changed their mind in 18% of cases and 9% were caused by a break in the buying chain.
Danny Luke, managing director of Quick Move, pointed out that 2016 was a tricky year for the property market with political and economic uncertainty having an impact on property market confidence.
“Property sales fell significantly in the second half of 2016 compared to the period before the European Union referendum. This was no surprise as buying a new home is a big decision to make and people tend to hold off making these important decisions, especially in times of uncertainty,” he said.
“As we move into 2017, we’ve already seen an increase in the number of property sales that didn’t make it to completion. The biggest reason why house sales didn’t complete in the first quarter were due to buyers stalling on the sale process, so there definitely still seems to be an element of caution among property buyers,” he added.