More property transactions are pushed out to 17 weeks after lengthy process delays

The highest ever figure for the proportion of deals taking more than 17 weeks from acceptance of an offer to exchange of contracts in February, has been recorded by NAEA Propertymark.

The proportion has risen to 27%, up from 26% in January according to the company’s February housing report.

“We’re seeing a record high number of transactions taking more than 17 weeks, due to the unusually high demand for property,” said Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at Propertymark.

11% of properties sold for more than the original asking price in February 2021, the highest figure since August last year and the highest for a February since 2016.

The majority, 57%, sold for less than the asking price.

“We’ve witnessed a boom in the number of prospective buyers and number of sales, following the government announcing a Stamp Duty holiday. It’s interesting that one in nine properties sold for more than the original asking price — it seems many buyers are willing to pay over the asking price,” Hayward added.

The number of sales agreed per estate agent branch has risen to 11, up from 10 in January. This was a rise on 9 in February 2020 and 7 for the same month in 2019.

The number of sales to first-time buyers rose to 25%, up from 23% in January. This is the highest figure since July 2020, and is up by 22% compared to February last year.

The number of prospective buyers per estate agency branch dropped to 388 on average in February, down from 487 in January.

However this was the highest number for a February since 2017, when it was 425.

The number of properties for sale was 34, down from 38 in January.