Scottish homes are selling much faster than those in England and Wales, according to new information that has been labelled as the largest capture of house sale data of its kind.
The local house market insights tool from Property Solvers works to track the moment a property has been listed on Rightmove up to the point at which it is marked as officially ‘sold’ at the HM Land Registry.
It took an average of 12.57 weeks to sell residential estates across Scotland, compared to 16.11 weeks in England and Wales. This is an overall difference of 28.16%.
Looking specifically at Paisley in Scotland, it took an average of eight weeks for 251 properties to sell during the 12 months to May 2019. Those selling in Glasgow and Edinburgh waited an average of 13 and 14 weeks respectively from when they began marketing their properties to the point of completion.
Motherwell and Kirkcaldy set the slowest pace, with 732 sellers waiting an average of 15 weeks.
Moving over to England, the research highlighted a relatively small number of sales in Central London taking between 10 and 11 weeks. However, it also pointed out that the majority took at least five weeks longer. In Southend-on-Sea, Torquay, North London, Watford and Southall, 2,054 sellers had to wait an average of 18 weeks for completion.
Co-founder of Property Solvers Ruban Selvanayagam has commented: “Although the sample size is lower and the system is far from perfect, it’s evident that the English and Welsh conveyancing process could learn some key lessons from Scotland.”
The Scottish Conveyancing Process
Selvanayagam said: “It’s the solicitors that typically take responsibility for marketing Scottish homes up for sale (as opposed to estate agents in England and Wales).
“Prior to getting homes on the market, by and large, Scottish sellers are required to deliver a Home Report. In addition to an energy performance certificate, a property questionnaire must also be forwarded.
“The seller will also supply a ‘single survey’ which the buyer can present to the lender for mortgage approval. Provided the surveying firm is on the lenders approved panel, there are usually no obstacles. This minimises an increasingly frequent issue in England and Wales of down-valuations that result in sellers pulling out or attempting to renegotiate the final purchase price.
“Although the Home Information Packs had limited success in England and Wales, there is a strong argument that sellers should be presenting their homes in a more transparent way.
“In a competitive market, to avoid the silly games that can often occur in the bidding process, buyers interested in properties above the asking price are invited to make sealed bids within a set timeframe.
“Once a legitimate bid is won, similar to England and Wales, the mortgage offer is confirmed and the conveyancing process starts. However, in Scotland, although a number of conditions are often applied, the exchange of documentation (known as ‘missives’) earlier in the process facilitates a much smoother transaction. In England, there is no legal commitment to the sale until contracts have been signed and exchanged.
“Also, if sellers in Scotland decide to accept a higher offer from another prospective buyer (i.e. the original buyer has been gazumped), they must instruct a different solicitor.”