Almost half of all house sales failed in Q4 2018

Newly released data from independent home buyer, Quick Move Now, has revealed that almost half of all house sales in England and Wales fell through before completion in the final quarter of 2018.

Related topics:  Property
Warren Lewis
10th January 2019

According to the data, although the fourth quarter figure of 49.8 percent is a sharp rise from the third quarter figure of 28.3 percent, the annual fall through rate for 2018 remained steady at 30.6 percent - just one percent higher than the 2017 annual fall through rate. This shows that, although 2018 was somewhat of an uncertain year for the UK Property market, overall the number of sales falling through before completion remained fairly consistent.

When it comes to the reasons for unsuccessful sales in the final quarter of last year, it seems ongoing political and financial uncertainty have had an impact on buyer confidence. The number one cause of unsuccessful property sales in 2018 (30 percent) was the buyer changing their mind and pulling out of the purchase.

Other common causes of failed house sales in the fourth quarter included:

- seller receiving a higher offer after a sale has been agreed (19 percent)
- survey issues causing a buyer to pull out of the sale (16 percent)
- difficulty securing a mortgage (13 percent)
- either party feeling that the sale was not progressing (10 percent)
- chain collapse (9 percent)
- buyer wanted to reduce their offer after the sale had been agreed (3 percent)

Danny Luke, Quick Move Now's managing director, commented: “2018 was a difficult year for the property market.

Continued political uncertainty, and knock-on financial concerns, undoubtedly took a toll on market confidence. This is particularly evident in the steep rise in the number of sales falling through before completion towards the end of the year.

With speculation on which way interest rates will head after 29th March being mixed, many would-be buyers are choosing to 'wait and see' before moving forward with such a large financial commitment. The annual fall through rate figure of 30.6 percent is reassuring, however, and shows a certain degree of market consistency.

It is challenging to make predictions for the year ahead, but I would expect the higher fall through rate seen in the last quarter to calm down, as Brexit unfolds and the UK property market find a new 'normal', post-Brexit.”

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