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Happy Friday, Happy Customers. Join over 1500 estate agents like Frosts Estate Agents who are using View My Chain to complete faster and reduce fall throughs. Sign up for a free trial and find out more >>>
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New data released by property sales progression tool, View My Chain, reveals average property completion times across the UK with some clear regional differences.

A significant north/south divide has been revealed with regards to the speed of property transactions across the UK, with the fastest sales taking place in the north east.

Through their latest data analysis, View My Chain have found that in the north east of England it takes an average of just 83 days to progress from the offers accepted stage to completion. In contrast, View My Chain have found that the process is slowest in London and the East of England, where it takes more than 100 days. This means that on average, those in London and the East are waiting two and a half weeks longer to complete their property transactions than their northern counterparts.

Until now, most of the information regarding time taken to progress a sale from the ‘offer accepted’ stage (SSTC) to completion has relied on qualitative information. However, View My Chain data now tracks, analyses, and reports on 500,000 transactions, providing a level of detail which can support agents’ strategic planning, and in particular, essential cash flow forecasts.
View my Chain believe there are three key reasons why these regional differences may exist:
- Cheaper properties are more readily available in the North East, and are quicker and easier to buy with cash.
- In contrast, high value, £1m + sales are more common in the capital. They are much more complex and, in turn, have longer completion times.
- Leasehold properties, which make up a larger proportion of properties in London, generally take longer to progress due to the additional paperwork.

The difference in completion times is staggering. Properties sold under £100,000 are taking just 88 days to complete, while leasehold flats over £1m could take more than 153 days. When it comes to high value sales, securing a prime property may be great from a commission perspective but, as most agents get paid on completion, that payment could take up to twice as long to hit the bank account.

Previous research has revealed that the longer it takes to progress a sale, the more likely that it will fall through – costing agents, buyers and sellers millions each year. With this in mind, the development of tools such as View My Chain will play a vital role in minimising chain collapses.

Being able to monitor the time an individual agency takes to progress a sale and compare it against the industry benchmark in this new way will also help to show the financial benefits of improving an agent’s business forecasting.

For example, to sell a property and get paid, agents selling mostly leasehold property typically wait 11.34 days longer than agents mostly dealing with freehold sales. With this information, when instructed to sell - for example, a new development of flats - an agent can calculate this extra time into their cash flow forecasts, easing financial issues and preventing frustration.

Evidence from agents currently using View My Chain shows they are completing sales 17 days faster than those who don’t use the system. This is because View My Chain allows complete transparency, so agents in England and Wales can identify reasons for delays and therefore step in to prevent fall-throughs.

Founder and CEO of View My Chain Sohail Rashid says:
“As an industry we haven’t had extensive enough data on sales progression timings in the past to help understand how this can impact on our business, but with the new way with which we now monitor property sales, it is possible to learn much more about what holds up sales and therefore slows down sales, impacting on an agency’s cash flow.

“Early adopters of View My Chain are finding that regardless of whether or not they are experts in sales progression, the data and transparency the service offers means they are improving completion times, which means more instructions and better cash management. As a result of speedy sales and purchases, consumer satisfaction is growing.”
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Like it or not, times are a-changing. Technology has modified (we had better not say improved) the way we live, and importantly, the way children are brought up. Need proof? Look at how retail is being transformed. Look how things are now advertised. Look at where things are advertised. Millennials are a different breed, and need to be treated as such by advertisers, marketers, retailers, sales people and everyone in between. To ignore this will not make it go away, and things are only going to get worse (or better depending on your stance) as more children are brought up immersed in technology and social media.

There’s more: millennials are now old enough to buy property. People born in the late 90s are buying properties. In a year, people born in the 21st Century will be taking their first steps onto the property ladder. How old does that make you feel? This means that the way properties are marketed, sold and bought will change. Millennials are the largest group of consumers in the UK, and the fastest growing – their buying power is growing considerably with each passing day. Characteristically they have short attention spans and want instant gratification – next/same day delivery, relevant news shaped for their viewing, immediate dates through mobile apps. Take too much time and you lose them.

Be visual. Specialised marketers advise to use icons and images with millennials as they are great for instantly communicating a story. Also, sales processes should be made as quick, easy and transparent as possible. This may seem a difficult prospect in the property sector as there are many different legal and regulatory hoops vendors and buyers need to jump through in order for a property to change hands, but the key thing it is how you as estate agents present this information to them.

So, using technology to build transparency, relevance and speed into your property sales process is a must. The more successful agencies will already be working on this as there are already a multitude of applications that can help with this. For one, View My Chain not only offers a proven method to speed up sales to completion, it also provides a simple and open way of keeping buyers informed at each stage of the process. Simple but effective. In property, things are never going to be completely straightforward (as they have become in other sectors) for millennials and the coming generations, but that doesn’t stop estate agents shaping what they can in order to meet their expectations. And for goodness’ sake, if you still happen to use a fax, try not to mention it.
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If the rise of property portals is ‘chapter one’ of the evolution of estate agency, a completely digitised hybrid property sales process is ‘chapter two’, and this part of the story will be fuelled by disruptive technologies, such as View My Chain. At least, that’s according to a recent report by investment company Exane BNP Paribas.

‘The future of estate agency: who wins?’ describes the significant changes that the estate agency industry is experiencing due to technological advances, as well exploring how online estate agents are disrupting the traditional bricks and mortar estate agency model. Admittedly, the unshakable grip that property portals have over estate agents has been explored many times. And, I’m sure you’ve read before that online estate agents are ‘the future’. However, the report also goes into detail about the next phase of digitisation of the property buying process and how that impacts both estate agents (online and high-street) and property portals.

It’s agreed from both sides of the online/high-street argument that people still want and need human interaction during the sales process. The conclusion drawn in this report is that as online agents impact the industry, high street agents will react, driving a hybridisation of property sales as a whole. The majority of the process will be carried out online, but with a human expert guide (an estate agent). To a certain extent, thanks to property portals, this has already happened: an important segment of the sales process has moved entirely online.

The report states that for hybrid estate agencies to exist effectively, each segment of the sales process needs to be powered by appropriate new technologies that, in many cases, are only just being investigated properly by the industry. It singles out View My Chain as “an innovative new start-up that leverages big data to expedite the post SSTC to completion journey for vendors – a key area of friction in the house sale process.”

Needless to say, View My Chain works for both online and offline estate agency models. It is simply a means of speeding up an existing process through making information available that was previously unattainable or difficult to acquire. However, as the report suggests, the hybrid model of estate agency will depend on such technologies. If as predicted, fees decrease as online competition builds, innovative solutions such as View My Chain may be the difference in reducing time, saving money, keeping the vendor happy, and getting sales over the line.

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Following the Glorious Revolution way back in the 17th century, the then-rulers of England, Scotland and Ireland (William and Mary) used their royal wisdom to concoct a new tax in order to fund an ongoing war against France. It was so successful at raising funds for the Crown it has remained until the present day, despite the relatively friendly relationship we now enjoy with our Gallic neighbours. Many years later, we find ourselves at the 2017 UK Budget, with homeowners and landlords alike having been expecting more punishment from the chancellor.

There is some good news that there are no further plans to punish homeowners or lower house prices. In fact, there was no mention of anything housing related whatsoever. The bad news? Those punishing stamp duty rules will stay in place, and the planned changes with continue to be introduced over 4 years.

Many property experts had hoped for better, for instance, the use of stamp duty incentives to free up additional housing supply, ensuring that families have more access to the larger homes they need and that smaller properties are available for first-time buyers.

It was also hoped by some more radical thinkers that stamp duty could be scrapped altogether, as the ‘anti-homeowner tax’ only heightens the mountain faced by aspiring UK buyers when trying to get on the ladder.

Landlords have had a rough old time over the past few years, and have been hit with a raft of new legislation designed to put off second home buyers, including higher rates of stamp duty and the scrapping of mortgage tax relief. Not to mention the government’s decision to cut housing benefit for under-21s, which the Residential Landlords Association reckons will put landlords off renting to young people.

There are ways in which some people have combated this, for instance many landlords have switched to own their properties via a company, which enables them to avoid the loss of the tax relief. But it seems like a losing battle. Rightly or wrongly, the opinion of the current Government (or the impression it wants to give) is that houses for young people and first-time buyers are more important than property entrepreneurs building their portfolios.

What this does mean is that estate agents may bear witness to a decline in property sales to more experienced buyers such as landlords and second homers, and be faced with many more first-time buyers and millennials. The latter group will need a lot more guidance and openness than the former, hence more time will need to be spent with them taking them through to completion. View My Chain offers a sure-fire way to reduce the time spent chasing solicitors, other agents and vendors, so more time can be spent with the inexperienced buyers, helping them dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.
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In response to the recent Housing White Paper’s commentary on “identifying what more can be done to reduce delays” in the home buying process and to tackle the “unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold, View My Chain have carried out analysis on how successful sales progression can help to improve completion times and how much longer leasehold properties take to sell.

View My Chain initially looked at 70,757 completed sales from October to December 2016 and matched 59,758 (84%) within its extensive property database powered by the key sector stakeholders.

The results below show how transaction times vary for sales that were completed by agents accessing View My Chain compared to the rest of the market*.

Average time to completion using View My Chain in December 2016 is 79 days.

Average time to completion where not using View My Chain in December 2016 is 94 days.

Sohail Rashid explains “because agents using View My Chain are in a unique position to identify the reasons behind delays, such as connected parties instructing conveyancers, ordering searches and applying for mortgages. We have proven during trials that the government’s aim of reducing completion times is achievable through improving the sales progression process.”

And the figures aren’t influenced by the individual agent’s that took up the trial as View My Chain compared the performance of branches within large groups trialling the product with other branches in the same region, for the same time period.

They concluded:-

For a large 100+ branch national group the results showed sales completing 16 days faster.

For a large 50+ branch regional group the results showed sales completing 12 days faster.

For a medium size 10+ branch group the results showed sales completing 17 days faster.

The latest data also shows how much longer it takes to sell and buy a Leasehold property versus ones which are Freehold.

View My Chain looked at completions over the whole of quarter four 2016 and as the chart shows below, it takes 16% longer on average to complete, with Leasehold sales taking 117 days to complete compared to Freeholds which take just 99 days.

Regionally there is considerable variation with the fastest leasehold completion times is the North East, taking just 95 days while the longest is the East Midlands, taking 152 days, in other words, 60% longer.

Finally View My Chain considered whether the property value impacted on completion times and as the chart shows below, the results are fairly similar, except those over £1M+ actually took a little less time to complete.

Sohail Rashid, comments that “having robust data on how long sales completions take and the main causes of delays, one of which is clearly a property being leasehold, the government’s White Paper is right to focus on improving the buying and selling process and making leasehold ownership more transparent.”

He concludes, “From an agent’s perspective, the opportunity to secure faster completions will help not only improve cash flow but also help to improve buyer and seller satisfaction levels.”

*The sample size of View My Chain connected sales was just under 10,000 records this element of the analysis only looks at house sales that completed in December 2016 to provide a fair comparison.
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Watch our video to hear the latest results from our 2016 Residential Property data.
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Following its launch in October 2016 View My Chain has been inviting agents to test its data driven sales progression platform on a free trial. Agents who registered have now been given time to judge for themselves on the product’s efficiency benefits and potential for service improvement.

View My Chain can now reveal that its platform is currently tracking 10,000 property sales and the platform is significantly speeding up the sales progression process and accelerating completions.

Sohail Rashid, CEO of View My Chain states “Currently, most agents rely on manually collecting information from conveyancers and connecting agents in order to manage the sales progression of a property chain. This is inefficient, time-consuming and laborious, it also takes key people away from core sales and case work. This process is also the main cause of distress to the consumer who is often made to wait for call backs and provided with limited access to information.”

Following the release of the HM Land Registry completion data for December 2016 View My Chain identified properties that were managed through its tool from October & November and completed in December.

The results below shows how transaction times for these completions compared to those that were managed using current traditional methods have improved.

Average time to completion using View My Chain in December 2016 is 79 days.

Average time to completion where not using View My Chain in December 2016 is 94 days.

Where the agent branch was part of a larger group View My Chain compared the performance of the branch trialling the product with the group’s other branches in the same region, for the same time period.

For a large 100+ branch national group the results showed sales completing 16 days faster.

For a large 50+ branch regional group the results showed sales completing 12 days faster.

For a medium size 10+ branch group the results showed sales completing 17 days faster.

Average time to searches ordered using View My Chain in December 2016 is 21 days.

Average time to searches ordered where not using View My Chain in December 2016 is 44 days.

Sohail Rashid, comments on the results “View My Chain is the only available tool for agents looking to deliver faster completions, less fall throughs and improved customer service in 2017. The key reason for these fantastic early results is simply down to the impact that milestone notifications and lag alerts have on sales progression. The data collected via the property ecosystem behind the software ensures that agents have instant visibility on what key events such as searches ordered, searches received and mortgage applications are outstanding. This empowers good agents to be more proactive and drive the sales process forward with more efficiency.”
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View My Chain 2016 Market Analysis: Residential Property

Executive Summary
Typically, previous qualitative research on sales fall throughs have suggested:-

Third of transactions fall through after offer accepted stage, costing homebuyers lose £2,899 on average. The research surveyed 2,000 recent homebuyers in February 2016.

Quick Move
Their research suggests that 20 percent of property sales fell through in the first three months of 2016.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Currently the government are considering reviewing the buying and selling process estimating that £270million is lost each year by potential home buyers on failed property transactions.

View My Chain has conducted the only data led piece of analysis on over 2 million sales across 2015 and 2016 from the point of a house being SSTC onwards.

Property fall through rates

Their analysis shows that in 2015 just over 149,000 property sales fell through and a further 109,000 in 2016. Approximately 20% of these were eventually withdrawn from the market, failing to sell altogether. The data indicates this reduction in fall through rates was partly temporary and caused by the Stamp Duty changes in March 2016 as well as lower sales for the rest of the year.

The data shows the actual number of properties that were completely withdrawn from the market in 2015 was 40,205 and 23,088 in 2016. However, most properties that experience a fall through are actually resold, the majority through the original estate agent.

Although this shows a lower percentage of market fall throughs than research to date has suggested, agents and consumers still lose out financially:-

– Agents lose potentially £33,129,583¹ in failed sales transactions each year

– Consumers lose potentially £316,118,556² due to fall throughs

Speed of the buying and selling process

With regards to speed of transactions, one of the surprising discoveries from the data is the lead time it takes from ordering searches after a property has been sold, subject to completion (SSTC).

The analysis shows that on average it takes 30 days to secure searches after a property is SSTC. However, the average delivery times for searches from the industry itself is just 10 days.

In addition, they found from analysing the 2015 and 2016 data on a quarterly basis, the variation of timings is huge. It shows the quickest time to secure searches was 19 days in the North East in Q1 2016, while SSTC to searches took 35 days in the North East and South East in Q3 2015.

Conclusion: How to immediately reduce fall throughs and the time it takes to buy and sell property

This unique data insight gives policy makers, the industry, buyers and sellers the first real learning about how to reduce the time it takes to progress a property sale/purchase and how to reduce fall throughs. It clearly shows that until every property in the chain has had searches ordered, the seller and agent are 3 times more likely to see the property transaction fall through.

Unique sales progression data analysis
The data that is generated by View My Chain across England and Wales is secured from our database of property listings, legal searches, mortgage applications and land registry.

The statistics on our website show changes in property fall throughs between 2016 and 2015.

The loss of money in terms of commission and cost to consumers remains high, with the data showing that agents lose potentially £33,129,583* in failed sales transactions each year. And this calculation is just based on the lost commission when a property is sold through another agent. It’s calculated by taking (1% commission x average sale price) x (no. of listings fallen through and sold by another agent that year). So it’s likely agent’s losses would actually be higher if you included additional revenue streams such as conveyancing.

Sellers should consider staying with the agent who originally sold their home

For the first time, this independent data clearly shows that around 60% of sellers over the last two years have sold their property again through the same agent, without having to switch and ‘start from scratch’. This is useful for agents to be able to quote to any seller that is considering switching to another agent, especially if the sale falling through was purely due to the buyer pulling out for their own reasons as opposed to any errors on the selling agents behalf.

Consumers also suffer substantial losses from fall throughs, but this requires further investigation

Which’s research shows that on average a sales fall through costs a buyer/seller £2,899. If this is correct then taking the 109,044 sales fall throughs in 2016, it equates to losses of £316,118,556.

However, now we know that many of the initial sales falling through go onto be sold, it maybe that this figure is less, particularly as most agents only charge commission based on the actual sale (not an offer) and can also purchase legal services on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis.

Transactions three times more likely to fall through pre-legal searches

Finally, the data shows us that the average chain is now three properties long and having reviewed a sample of 2016 fall throughs, the View My Chain data also found that just a third of property transactions which fell through did so post a legal search being ordered. This means that until searches are ordered up and down the chain, an agent or the buyer/seller is three times more likely to see their property transaction fail.

These statistics immediately raise the importance of the process and tracking of searches being ordered and delivered during the sale progression process.

What these figures clearly show is that sales falls through are bad news for both agents and for the sellers/buyers that lose out, so if the occurrence can be reduced or foreseen earlier in the change, both agents, buyers and sellers can benefit tremendously.

The time it takes to order searches from SSTC stage

See the View My Chain website for data showing the speed of transactions by quarter since Q1 2015 based on an offer being formally accepted by the seller/buyer and therefore being classed as ‘sold subject to contract’ being produced and signed. In addition to this process, mortgage applications and surveys maybe required.

What the statistics show is that there is huge variety in terms of time scales by region, with the consistently fastest areas being Wales and the North East, while South East and North West tend to take a lot longer. The data for Q1 16 is interesting as it shows the natural speed conveyancing can be done if everyone is working to the same deadline, such as the Q1 sales in 2016 which were temporarily boosted by people rushing to buy property before the 31st March 2016 when the additional 3% stamp duty for second, third etc. homes kicked in.Looking at over 500,000 transactions the above data show that, on average, it takes around 30 days from SSTC to order the searches. Overall this equates to approximately a third or more of the time it takes to complete on a property purchase/sale (see below) for what is a relatively straightforward process.

Overall, we can conclude from the View My Chain analysis that with the search lead times taking on average of 10 days from order to delivery, even the Q1 16 statistics which show the process taking under 25 days, there is room for further improvement to reduce the up to 35 days it appears to take currently.

The time it takes from searches ordered through to completion

See the View My Chain website for data showing the speed of transactions from SSTC through to completion by quarter since Q1 2015.

The above data shows two things, firstly that the time it takes to complete from one region to the other can vary dramatically with the South East consistently taking longer than any other region to complete once a property is SSTC, bar Q3 2016, while Wales and the North East seem to be best regions at speed of completion.

To make better use of this data, we need to have expert insight and carry out more research so we can better understand why some areas are consistently faster than others. For example, looking at the percentage of sales which are freehold versus leasehold and trying to establish potential regional differences in the reasons for fall throughs.


View My Chain was founded in 2015 by Ian Lancaster and Sohail Rashid.

Ian Lancaster is a serial entrepreneur who founded Virgin Cars and TwentyCi, the UK’s leading lifestage trigger agency. Sohail Rashid is an award-winning tech entrepreneur who started his career as a lawyer and then went on to found Property Network, the UK’s first social media based property portal.

They bring together a wealth of experience from across the tech, data, digital and property sectors.

About View My Chain

View My Chain is a platform that has been developed to radically improve the current home moving process.

It allows agents, buyers and sellers to view automated key buying and selling milestones such as searches being ordered or mortgages applied for. This allows agents and home movers to view a transparent and accurate picture of how the sale/purchase is progressing or highlight potential bottle necks early in the process.

View My Chain is the only data driven chain management tool which provides the best solution to help agents achieve lower fall throughs, faster completions and less wastage.

Unique sales progression analysis

To run View My Chain and track sales progression automatically, it is possible, for the first time on a mass scale in the UK/England & Wales, to generate and analyse data which informs the industry, consumers and the government:-

– How many transactions are sold subject to contract (SSTC)

– How many sales fall through post the SSTC stage, including pre and post searches being ordered

– What happens to the property after a sale has initially fallen through

– The time it takes to order searches from SSTC stage

– The time it takes from searches ordered through to completion

The data is aggregated for England and Wales and is then broken down by region.

This unique analysis helps to explain:-

– The true scale of the problem of fall throughs during the sales process

– Where sales are falling through, how they could be spotted and potentially prevented early in the process

– The time it is genuinely taking for the sales and buying process from SSTC through to searches ordered and completion
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How do your fall through rates compare to the average? New data allows you to benchmark your business #Property
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