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How is the pandemic affecting conveyancing turnaround times?

January 26, 2021 3:30 am

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The global coronavirus pandemic that has rocked the world has impacted almost every aspect of our lives. In the property market, there have been ramifications on all levels, from market prices to completion times. There have been instances of significant delays, while other purchases have completed faster than usual, so we outline exactly how the pandemic has affected conveyancing turnaround times.

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Delays and disruptions

Resource management through all levels of the chain has been an issue, as many businesses and companies have been impacted by staff shortages due to staff needing to self-isolate, are unwell with the virus and delays due to changes in working practices including remote working and ensuring workplaces are Covid secure.

Nationwide has reported that in some situations it has taken longer to get to the offer stage and local authority searches are also taking longer in some instances.

Coronavirus clauses

With job losses, staff shortages, housing market suspensions and self-isolation periods, legal teams introduced “coronavirus clauses” to contracts in property transactions in an attempt to mitigate the effects of unforeseen circumstances caused by the pandemic. These clauses have given buyers reassurance to proceed with transactions.

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Adjustments to reduce conveyancing delays

As time has gone on, businesses have adjusted to the pandemic with the introduction of new working practices and there have been improvements in the timescales. Although where a physical valuation is necessary, mortgage offers may have been affected, many mortgage providers such as Skipton Building Society report that they use desktop valuations and AVMs where they are able to do so, in order to reduce the delays.

Chris Pearson, HSBC UK’s head of intermediary mortgages commented that changes were made to both how they operated and the range of products in order to relieve pressure on service levels.

Because of these adjustments, many conveyancers are still able to offer fast conveyancing and can offer guidance and advice on the process, such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/news/conveyancing/5-top-tips-for-fast-conveyancing-132.

The mortgage operations director at The Mortgage Lender, Scott Callaghan summarised the situation as a combined effort of “everyone involved in the mortgage journey time” adjusting their working practices which have allowed a degree of normality to be returned to service levels so that at this stage it stands at or close to the levels we saw prior to the start of the pandemic.

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