Create certainty in times of uncertainty, future proof your business and secure your pipeline

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Create certainty in times of uncertainty

In the opening months of 2020, before the pandemic struck the UK, the housing market was gathering momentum and the outlook for the UK economy was a positive one. Then COVID took hold of our lives and the UK economy all but shut down from the 23rd of March.

Fortunately for those involved in the housing market this kickstarted on the 13th of May. The housing market re-opened with a vengeance and experts now forecast that the UK housing market is expected to exceed 1 million sales this year.

The recent revival in the housing market is expected to end next year when the stamp duty holiday stops in March. Following on from the chancellors recent spending review the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expect house prices to fall in 2021 and 2022. It also predicts more people will lose their jobs as government support schemes are pared back. The end of the tax break is expected to contribute to a 3.5% fall in house prices next year and a further 2.6% drop in 2022.’’

The SDLT holiday helped create a buoyant market through Q3 – Q4 this year, but with there being no current sign of an extension, what will that mean for a post-deadline property market? It’s hard not to foresee a higher-than-normal fall through rate in Q1, as many buyers realise they are unlikely to complete before the 31st of March. This will in turn affect agents’ “live” pipelines and cash flow.

Councils are working through the backlog but experiencing high turnaround times on local authority searches, which in turn has led to the NAEA stating that average property transaction times have lengthened from 12 weeks to 20 weeks.

The data below shows the 20 councils with the highest turnaround times on personal residential searches – in total there are 114 councils with a 4+ week turnaround time for the local authority search.

Data ProviderPersonal Residential (working days)Official Residential (working days)
Bedfordshire Council12510
Harrogate Borough Council10040
Cambridge City Council7520
South Cambridgeshire District Council7520
Hackney London Borough60171
North Warwickshire Borough Council5016
Flintshire County Council4525
Havering London Borough4520
Calderdale M.B.C4025
Derwentside District Council400
Lichfield District Council4035
South Derbyshire District Council4035
South Kesteven District Council4035
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council4045
Tamworth Borough Council4020
Thanet District Council4015
Boston Borough Council3534
Chelmsford Borough Council3535
County Durham Council (Residential)3530

Since the first lockdown commenced, GOTO has seen an increased demand for their online auction service, with sellers favouring the quicker and more secure method of sale that an online auction provides. GOTO Auctions has seen a 39% increase in new instructions for November 2020, compared to the same month last year and a 37% increase overall for the year compared to last year in new instructions. With the market and consumer primed to be even more receptive to the service in 2021, GOTO expects to see an even higher increase next year.

Sellers are likely to continue to favour enhanced certainty in what is clearly an uncertain time. One way of creating certainty is through the use of conveyancing partners, such as GOTO, which can help fast-track conveyancing where searches are ordered and enable the buyer to have the searches at the time of making the offer. It’s important the vendor is seller ready and this will allow the buyer to be buyer ready. This in itself helps the agent’s vendors to sell, increase the agent’s revenue and significantly reduces the likelihood of sale falling through and thereby protecting the agent’s pipeline and improves the cash flow. 

For a more detailed explanation of how conveyancing, online auctions and committed buyer services can help your agency, connect with GOTO.


Guest blog by GOTO, a multi-faceted property service which ensures the very best moving experience when buying or selling a home.