Longer Sales Chains Show Uplift in Housing Market

Conveyancing Experts Say More First Time Buyers Is Having an Effect Across Whole Market

30.10.2013

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Conveyancing experts say the average length of chains involved in housing transactions in the UK is increasing – another sign of the housing market picking up pace.

Top 20 law firm Irwin Mitchell, which helps people buy and sell homes across the country, says that for the past few years the majority of transactions have been one-off purchases or smaller two-property chains. But the average number of groups involved in a single housing transaction is now increasing to previous levels more common five years ago with 3, 4 and 5 party sales now completing.

The news comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the average property price in the UK is now £247,000, a record high beating the previous peak price in 2008. In general, house prices increased by 3.8% in the year up to August 2013.

The Government has also launched the Help to Buy scheme this month which is expected to increase the numbers of first-time-buyers by offering loans to make deposits more affordable.

Helen Hutchison, a specialist conveyancing lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

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"Over the past few years there have been fewer first time buyers and that has had a knock on effect as 'second steppers' have struggled to find buyers to enable them to move up the housing ladder.

"What we are seeing now is a noticeable increase in the number of parties involved in longer chains. It shows the market is picking up because we are moving away from a time when the only purchasers were those that had the cash or deposit in place to be able to buy without selling their own property.

"The latest house price statistics show that the value of homes is increasing while Government schemes such as Help to Buy will also help increase the availability at the lower end of the market which will in turn help those moving up the housing ladder."
Helen Hutchison, Associate

The Irwin Mitchell team is also advising people buying and selling property to ensure they communicate as quickly as possible, as well as showing patience during the process to ensure the increasing length of chains does not cause any issues.

She added: “Most people want their property transaction to go through as quickly as possible whether buying, selling or both. The key to making this happen is to ensure you communicate regularly with your solicitors, agents and mortgage provider and respond to any questions as soon as possible.

“Housing chains can only move as quickly as the slowest respondent and it is also important to remember to be patient as there is often a lot more happening behind the scenes than people realise. When people are spending such large amounts of money on property it is vital that all necessary checks are carried out to make sure it is a suitable purchase.”

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