An increasing number of house purchases are made by buyers who are not in chains – a trend driven by the surge in buy to let.
That’s the view of lettings agency Hamptons, part of Connells.
It says a record proportion of homes have been bought by buyers without a home to sell this year. So far in 2022, 73 per cdnt of all buyers have been chain-free, up from 69 per cent in 2021 and a low of just 65 per cent back in 2010.
Selling to a chain-free buyer has long been the preferred option for sellers looking to speed up a sale and reduce the chances of it falling through. However, the lack of stock has amplified the advantage chain-free buyers hold as chains become increasingly slow moving.
This means sellers are more likely to choose a chain-free buyer than ever before. So far this year 61 per cent of sellers accepted an offer from a chain-free buyer over a buyer with a home to sell, up from 59 per cent in 2021 and 58 per cent pre-Covid in 2019.
Hamptons says the rise in chain-free buyers has been driven by an increase in the share of homes bought by first-time buyers and investors.
So far this year, first-time buyers have purchased a record 26 per cent of homes in Britain while investors made up 14 per cent of buyers.
Four in five sellers accepted an offer from a chain-free buyer where they matched an offer from somebody who had a property to sell, up from just three in five in 2016, and so far this year it’s taken the average chain-free buyer 91 days to exchange after having an offer accepted, 20 days quicker than a buyer who had a property to sell.
This marked the biggest time to exchange gap between chain and chain-free buyers since Hamptons’ records began in 2009.
While the majority of movers have been chain-free since 2021, often moving into rented accommodation temporarily in order to break the chain, there’s been a large fall in the number of sales to owner-occupiers with a home to sell. The share of homes bought by someone selling their main residence and buying another home fell from 30 per cent in 2021 to 27 per cent so far in 2022.