As well as the inconvenience caused to the customer when the survey is cancelled at short notice, a delay in receiving the valuation report can cause time sensitive checks and documents to expire and if the funds are for a deposit for another purchase this may fall through.
Tracey Bailey, head of residential underwriting at Blemain Group, said: “The property market is poised for a strong and sustained recovery. However the industry as whole, including surveyors and their insurers, must recognise the need to serve all parts of the market or this recovery could falter.
“Where surveys are delayed there’s an increased chance of the loan application not proceeding and in some instance the series of chain events involved in the transaction collapsing entirely.”
Bailey said she has heard of customers losing the property they want to buy due to the extended period to obtain the survey.
She added: “No one single segment can be viewed in isolation – if someone is taking a secured loan to make home improvements or consolidate credit and they are having to wait several weeks to have a survey completed it can have severe knock-on effect.”
Figures from the Finance and Leasing Association for secured loans showed that since the number of new business agreements reached a low in December 2010 demand has increased by more than 60%.
“It’s encouraging to see some surveying firms recruiting and training more people in the right locations,” said Bailey. “The whole industry needs to play an active role. Insurers need to support surveyors providing affordable cover as necessary.
“Equally lenders like Blemain Group need to play their part ensuring they participate in essential engagement and education activities to help people realise how the situation is impacting the industry as a whole.
“The property market is as much about confidence as it is the provision of service. A lack of surveyor capacity spans both of these elements, if borrowers and their brokers don’t have certainty in the provision of surveying services confidence will waiver and the recovery could be delayed unnecessarily or potentially stall.”
Blemain Group’s own research showed that 80% of brokers are expecting to grow their business in 2013 with almost two-thirds (63%) saying they anticipated that this will include a focus on secured loans.
Figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed that there are currently 8,500 residential valuers registered in the UK of who 5,500 list residential valuation as their primary activity and around 2,000 of which work for the largest 20 firms in the UK.