New figures have revealed that more than a third of UK property sales fell through in 2023.
The statistics, from property company Quick Move Now, show that 35 per cent of agreed sales did not go through last year.
According to the figures, 49 per cent of the failed sales were caused by the buyer changing their mind, attempting to renegotiate or pulling out after a property survey.
The next most common reasons were chain-break, which happened in 19 per cent of the failed sales, and slow progress, which happened 17 per cent of the time.
Other reasons cited for the failure of sales throughout the year included the buyer struggling to secure a mortgage (10 per cent), a change in buyer circumstances (three per cent), and legal issues (two per cent).
Danny Luke, owner of Quick Move Now, explained: “2023 was a challenging year for the property market. Although the predicted market crash never materialised, we did see a significant slowing of the market. According to HMRC, sales volumes fell 22 per cent year-on-year. We also saw a modest price correction.
“One of the biggest obstacles for the property market throughout 2023 was a mismatch between buyer and seller expectations. Buyers were keen to get a bargain, but many sellers were still hoping for near 2021 prices.
“Mortgage interest rates also made things difficult, impacting affordability and encouraging many would-be buyers to delay their move.
“As we enter the new year, both inflation and mortgage interest rates are falling, yet confidence still remains relatively low. There are predictions that the Bank of England may lower its base rate later in the year. If this happens, we could well see renewed confidence and enthusiasm in the market. With rent prices continuing to be a challenge for many young people, there is scope for significant demand at the bottom of the market.
“With all of the challenges thrown at the property market over the last 12 months, it’s little surprise that the biggest cause of failed property sales is the buyer changing their mind or trying to renegotiate the purchase price.
“Chain-break has also had a big impact on the number of sales that have fallen through. During the post-Covid property market boom, a chain-break could quickly and easily be fixed. That’s not the case in a slower property market. It can take weeks or even months to tie-up another sale, which will often lead to the whole chain collapsing.
“Buyer uncertainty is also showing in the number of property sales falling through due to slow progress. We’ve heard stories of buyers seeming very keen at first, but then getting cold feet and going quiet. Sellers are only happy to hold on for so long before they get fed up and pull out of the sale to put their property back on the market.”