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Property Market Backlog Causes 5.6 Month Wait

The stamp duty holiday in England and Wales has been a massive boon for the housing market, as thousands of people sought new homes, and the potential savings to be had from beating the stamp duty deadline encouraged people to move fast.

The stamp duty holiday set the ‘nil rate’ threshold for properties at £500,000 from July 2020 until 30 June 2021, and is now being phased out, and will return to the pre-pandemic ‘nil rate’ level of £125,000 by 1 October, reports ITV News.

However, the race to beat the stamp duty holiday has placed the property industry under massive pressure to complete sales and has caused massive delays.

Data analysed by estate agent comparison site has revealed the average length of time it now takes to complete house sales. Using figures from online property portals and property record sales, the company was able to compile the information, then cross-referencing sales with the Land Registry, to find the time taken during the market backlog.

The recently released report shows that the average property takes 274 days to sell from the point of being listed online to being finalised by the Land Registry.

The property advertising process and finding a buyer took an average of 118 days, and the remaining 156 days were needed for the property to go through the conveyancing process and complete – a total of just over five and a half months.

In the North East, this time currently averages 172 days, followed by the South West (166 days), East Midlands (165 days), and London (159 days). These findings show it takes around six months to complete the final stages of a sale.

East of England had the longest market delays. In the region, transactions are taking six and a half months to complete.

Founder and chief executive officer of, Colby Short, said: “The stamp duty holiday has been a great incentive to coax many homebuyers out of their COVID boltholes and into the market, but this huge influx of buyer demand has had its consequences.

“The industry has struggled to cope and none more so than the conveyancing industry whose failure to keep pace has led to a huge build-up of transactions and very lengthy delays at the back end of the transaction process.”

He added that the industry was working tirelessly across the board to address the backlog, but the figures do reveal how archaic some of the UK’s property buying and selling practices really are.

He said that it can also take a reasonable amount of time for the Land Registry to record a sale once all the hard work is done, which can add more time to an already lengthy process.

“While the advent of technology has helped to a certain degree, there’s still a lot of work to be done to bring the process up to scratch for both the consumer and those working to serve them,” he concluded.

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