Half A Million Home Sales Fall Through

An estimated 531,000 home sales fell through in the final months of 2011, up a third on the start of the year.

New findings from online conveyancing service In-Deed reveal a dramatic spike in failed property transactions and suggest that more buyers than ever give up trying through sheer frustration.

This figures for the three months between September and November 2011, compare with 394,000 for December 2010-February 20111.

In the last six months of the year, it also became more likely that a transaction would fail than succeed2.

And with each fall-through costing £5,5003, the research indicates that the number of buyers who give up after the first try nearly doubled4.

Difficulties securing mortgage finance were a key driver, seriously aggravated by declining service standards among property professionals, according to the study.

Nearly a quarter of buyers (24 per cent) report the vendor couldn’t secure a mortgage to move on, while one in ten (11 per cent) say they had the same problem themselves.

Legal issues were the culprit in one in eight cases (12 per cent) with many reports of incompetence, delays and mistakes by solicitors (13 per cent) and widespread anger with the legal profession (5 per cent).

In-Deed.net aims to remedy poor legal services, using a panel of reputable, vetted lawyers and web and mobile technology that allows users to track every stage of the home-buying process, from instruction through to completion.

Estate agents were also the target of buyers’ ire, with nearly a fifth (18 per cent) saying that they were upset with the buying agent involved.

Commenting on the study, In-Deed.net chairman and founder of Rightmove said:

“With mortgage finance harder than ever to secure and poor service standards rife in estate agency and conveyancing, it’s no surprise that home-buying is such a frustrating process. You can make it a lot less stressful by using a reputable online conveyancing service.”

To help home-buyers and sellers release their frustration, In-Deed.net has created a new interactive game ‘Angry Buyers’ (www.angrybuyers.com), offering one winner their mortgage or rent paid for six months.



PERIODSept-Nov 2011June-Aug 2011Mar-May 2011Dec 2010 - Feb 2011
Failed sales (000s)531542376394
Successful sales (number of unsuccessful to successful sales)513 (1.03)367 (1.47)461 (0.8)396 (0.9)


Q: During these time periods, how many times did you try to purchase a home and the sale fell-through?

PERIODSept-Nov 2011June-Aug 2011Mar-May 2011Dec 2010-Feb 2011
% making only one attempt55%36%33%25%



For further information contact:

Henry Warrington/Mark Lowe at Third City on 020 3174 1023 henry@thirdcity.co.uk / mark@thirdcity.co.uk


1See fig. 1

2See fig.1 (ratio) - 1.47 failed for every success in June-April, compared to less than 1:1 over the first six months of the study

3All who have tried to buy a property but the sale fell through were asked: “How much money do you estimate was lost due to the last sale falling through?”/ mean amount was £5,509 – see Fig 3 for regional statistics

4See fig. 2 – 55 per cent in Q4 of the study, versus 25% in Q1.

Notes to editors

All research was conducted by ICM Market Research and carried out between 20th December 2011–6th January 2012. Sample was 4,067 people, of whom 3 per cent had tried to buy a home within the last 12 months.


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