30% Longer To Complete Sale of Property

Published / Last Updated on 01/02/2021

Data analysed by Movewise on almost 500,000 property transactions across the UK, show property sales from 'under offer' to 'completion' are taking 29% longer to complete the sale.

Delays with property searches and conveyancing due to a backlog in cases have increased the average time from 96 to 124 days to exchange contracts.

Once an offer has been made to the time of exchange the average time has increased by:

  • 37% in Scotland (70 to 96 days)
  • 32% in the North East (87 to 115 days)
  • 29% in London (97 to 125 days)

This data confirms backlogs within the conveyancing process with local councils also struggling with the increased workload of property searches being requested by solicitors.

Movewise data also included analysing the time it took to sell a property from the date listed to exchange of contracts.  Transactions compared over the past 30 days vs 180 days.  The average time had increased 26%, 160 days compared to 127 days.


Pressure on property transactions after an offer is accepted are to be expected with the stamp duty holiday rush in additional to covid-19 lockdown restricting how all parties are able to work.  At a 33 days average delay, that puts the slowdown at just short of 5 weeks with pressure on all parties involved: buyers, sellers, legal advisers, local authorities, surveyors and lenders.  We should all work on the basis that any offer made and accepted for a property today will likely complete after the stamp duty holiday deadline has passed. 

That said, a public petition is forcing Parliament to shortly debate an extension to the stamp duty holiday although with the Budget due on 3rd March, 2021, it is unlikely that a decision will be made until then.

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