25 Jun

Home purchases delayed by council inefficiency

Home purchases delayed by council inefficiency

Property purchases are being delayed because homebuyers are waiting up to 120 per cent longer than a year ago for the council to provide essential information relating to the transaction, according to new research.

The study, carried out by property data company OneSearch Direct, found that the length of time people have to wait for property search documents from local councils is something of a postcode lottery.

In the west London borough of Hillingdon, for example, it takes an average of 44 days to return search data - a huge increase on last year's average of 20 days. By contrast, the borough of Crawley manages an average of just 2.25 days.

Ronnie Park, managing director at OneSearch Direct, described it as "ludicrous" that there is such a big disparity in councils' efficiency.

"With the market slowing down, it's more crucial than ever that we ensure best practice regardless of postcode - or there could be serious timing, cost and liability implications for consumers," he added.

The number of properties changing hands continues to decrease, with new data from HM Revenue and Customs revealing that the number of housing transactions fell by nearly 37 per cent year-on-year in May.

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