Fall throughs decline to pre-pandemic levels

Posted on Friday, June 23, 2023

The number of property transactions to have failed across the UK continued to decline during Q1 and has now fallen to the lowest quarterly level seen since Q1 of 2019. 

Research released by property purchasing specialist, House Buyer Bureau, looked at the number of transaction fall-throughs across the UK property market, what this means in terms of the average cost of a fall through and what the total cost to the property market is as a result.

The latest index shows that the average cost of a fall-through during the first quarter of 2023 increased by 2.1% versus Q4 2022, now averaging £3,370 per transaction.

However, since September of last year and following a disastrous mini-budget, the housing market has started to cool, with a notable drop in market activity from both buyers and sellers when compared to the previously hot market conditions spurred by the pandemic.

The silver lining of this drop in market activity has been a reduction in the volume of transactions collapsing and it’s estimated that just 63,970 transactions fell through during the first three months of this year.

This marks a 16% quarterly decline versus the final quarter of 2022 and the second consecutive quarterly decline since a market peak of 90,188 fall-throughs seen in Q3 2022.

It’s also some 11% fewer fall throughs on an annual basis and, in fact, the total seen during Q1 2023 is the lowest since the first quarter of 2019 before the pandemic property market boom took off.

A drop in the volume of fall-throughs has also led to a reduction in their total estimated cost to the market. Despite the average cost of an individual fall through increasing, the total estimated cost of the 63,970 transactions to have collapsed during Q1 has dropped by 14% on a quarterly basis.

That said, fall throughs still cost the nation’s homebuyers and sellers £215.6m during the first three months of this year alone, although this is the lowest quarterly total seen since Q4 2021.

Managing Director of House Buyer Bureau, Chris Hodgkinson, commented:

“Market activity has been gradually declining since the closing stages of last year and we’ve seen these more subdued market conditions continue during the first quarter of this year.

"A silver lining to this notable reduction in sales volumes has been a consequential drop in the number of transactions collapsing and this, on the face of it, is a positive.

"However, the individual cost of a fall-through has actually increased and it’s also fair to say that while the total number of fall-throughs is on the slide, current market conditions are ripe for an increased threat of a sale collapsing.

"Buyers are offering less, sellers are standing their ground, we’ve seen multiple interest rate hikes spur lenders into increasing rates and transactions are taking far longer to complete.

"All of these factors can increase the chance of a fall through and so while total numbers may be down, buyers and sellers should remain aware of the threat and do all they can to negate it in order to reach the finish line.”

Via @PropertyReporter