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Gazumping returns to property market

Amanda Jarvis

April 18, 2006

Spring Move, which offers a service aimed at house buyers and sellers that provides all the information required on a property, has revealed that the North West and London are the two parts of England and Wales where you face the biggest risk of seeing a property sale fall through.  

Spring Move’s research and analysis of industry data found that the South East has the lowest percentage of house sale failures in relation to actual sales.

The company found that despite the North West and London accounting for around 11.63% and 12.6% of property sales in England and Wales, they accounted for 24.67% and 26.15% of failed house sales over the past five years.

According to Spring Move, over 2.2 million people in England and Wales saw house sales fall through in the past five years.  The company estimates that up to 150,000 failed house sales a year could involve gazumping, whereby you lose a purchase at the last minute as another buyer beats your offer price. Spring Move warns that with large bonuses having recently been paid to many people, and demand for houses continuing to outstrip supply, the problem of gazumping will get worse.

Spring Move chairman Stephen Foden said: “At the moment, we have a massive problem of not having enough properties, and this is fuelling the problem of gazumping.  It is also made worse by the amount of paperwork that is involved with purchasing or selling a property.  Hopefully, the introduction of home information packs will help to address this problem by speeding up the sale process.”       

The company’s research found that other major reasons for house sales falling through included time-wasting buyers (cited by 38% of those who’ve suffered) and time-wasting by sellers which was blamed by 41%.  A further 23% said they simply changed their minds and 10% were blamed on poor surveys.

Stephen Foden said: “Buying or selling a property is a very stressful experience.  However, you can take a number of steps to help relieve this and also increase the chances of a sale succeeding.  These include making sure that you have your finances sorted and also ensuring that you commission a suitable survey.”

Spring Move is commissioned by estate agents to handle all the reports and legal activities associated with a property transaction. Its Property Information Pack includes a survey highlighting any problems.

Buyers can then make an informed decision on whether to proceed. And because everything is agreed in advance – including the buyer’s ability to proceed – the contract can be signed once a price is agreed cutting down on time, cost and the chances of a deal falling through.


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