I can’t help wondering whether New Year resolutions are becoming a somewhat outdated concept.
I say this after not having one single conversation relating to the word resolution both prior to, or post, the turn of the year. This could be due to the onset of more recent challenges such as dry January or Veganuary, or it may just be that people are now realising that making incremental changes is more manageable than piling the pressure on one larger transformation.
This talk of incremental change rather than one large transformation is certainly relevant when breaking down approaches across the housing and mortgage markets in 2024. Especially in terms of a homebuying process where there are a significant number of relatively simple marginal gains to be made to improve an often antiquated approach which is leading to the average sale to completion still taking a whopping four to five months.
And this is a protracted process which is also having significant financial repercussions for those parties involved.
Recent analysis of Q3 2023 data from TwentyCI by Home Sale Pack highlighted that fall-throughs are estimated to have cost UK buyers and sellers £270m over the course of the quarter, marking a second consecutive quarterly increase as market conditions continue to prove problematic for the property industry.
These figures are reported to have increased by 13.3 per cent in Q3, having already risen by 9.3 per cent between Q1 and Q2. At the same time, it was estimated that the average cost of a fall through in Q3 climbed to £3,433 – an increase of £51 on the previous quarter and £84 versus the start of the year.
Signs of improvement
The good news is that while the frequency of fall-throughs and the resulting cost incurred is on the up, they remain below the levels seen over the previous year.
In fact, there were reported to be 12.8 per cent fewer fall-throughs seen during Q3 of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022, while the total cost to the market was also down 9.8 per cent annually. The analysis also showed that between Q1 and Q3 2022, the total estimated cost of fall-throughs hit almost £775.8m. During the same period of 2023, this total cost was estimated to have hit £717.1m, to represent a difference of £58.7m.
While it’s good to see these costs falling, in a similar vein to the time taken for transactions to complete, these stated amounts are still totally unacceptable in the modern market.
Of course, fall-throughs are inevitable for a variety of unforeseen reasons, and it will always take time to complete what remains a highly complex and emotive transaction.
An informed decision
However, what we do know is that the more information the purchaser has at their disposal as early in the homebuying process as possible, the less likely it is that unexpected issues will later emerge and the speedier the transaction can be.
Getting the right type of survey will continue to play a key role in delivering a large proportion of this information and heading off any concerns or raising relevant question in a timely manner, but more needs to be done in a variety of guises from all links in the property chain.
On a positive note, there are some influential bodies out there who are already playing a prominent role within this.
One being the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) which has launched a discussion paper to seek feedback from across the home moving industry, government and consumers to generate greater transparency and help develop a more joined-up approach. Another is the Open Property Data Association (OPDA) whose mission is to foster innovation, trust, and industry-wide collaboration and to digitise the home moving process through the power of data.
Collaboration and the more effective use of data really is paramount to the progression of the homebuying journey. This needs to be driven from within the industry in a more coordinated manner and the sooner we are having the right conversation, the better for all concerned.