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In the past few months alone, the United Kingdom and its once-bustling economy have greatly struggled because of all the effects brought about and posed by COVID-19. In fact, the housing market itself is one of the hardest-hit industries whose operations are most affected by the shifting regulations taking place.

Although there is no doubt that today’s English housing market bears an abundance of opportunities for first-time and seasoned investors and agents, the truth is that the predicament at hand can be too much to bear. The industry today is also seeing its fair share of rigmaroles at continuous rates because the Coronavirus has put all sorts of businesses in a continuous battle to survive and thrive.

As the housing market (and its constituents) and regulatory bodies continue to devise measures in accordance with government regulations, it’s no secret that the home buying and selling processes are greatly affected. From negotiation to mortgage loan applications, most, if not all, parts of the average real estate transaction process are going through their fair share of hurdles.

Among the different parts of the home buying process that are experiencing changes, the most affected of them all is the conveyancing process itself!

An undesirable delay

Today, home buyers, sellers, and agents alike have continually expressed their frustrations over the added time between negotiation and acquisition because of unwanted delays––most of which are linked to the conveyancing process.

Before COVID-19 struck, the conveyancing process was already known as a fairly lengthy experience because of all the different processes that went into fulfilling the necessary tasks. However, with the current events taking place and affecting nearly every aspect of life itself, it is easy to see why the process in question is now experiencing more delays that make it far lengthier than before!

How has conveyancing changed to reduce the risk of the Coronavirus?

If you’ve been exposed to how the UK housing market works and operates, then you’re definitely well-aware (or at least have an idea) of how the conveyancing process works. Once you consider all the different pieces of information concerning the process itself, you might be wondering as to why there are different delays and hold-ups going on in the first place.

With the different guidelines and restrictions in place, the majority of the conveyancing process has undergone quite a bit of a transformation with respect to the different regulations that are now in place. Despite the fact that health and safety was never an immediate consideration before because of how purely documentary conveyancing is, authorities involved are now required to follow suit.

Although the conveyancing process moved quite quickly at the start of the quarantine to make way for a much faster preparation process because of backlogs, matters have become even slower recently. In fact, many have expressed their dismay over the persistence of process delays because simultaneous exchange and completion has already been put in place, with other matters failing to follow suit.

In nearly every document-managing or authoritative body that’s involved in the conveyancing process, workers are required to take more time with the way they handle their systems. With an emphasis on social distancing and a strictly-skeletal workforce, it’s safe to say that the delays in the process are rooted in limited processing loads and extended wait times between applications.

Will “local lockdowns” affect the current waiting time that people need to subscribe to as they move in or out of a lockdown area?

By now, you might be wondering about whether local lockdown restrictions will extend or shorten the current waiting period that you’re expecting with the conveyancing process. To remedy the current effects of restrictions on set tasks that follow after, the Conveyancing Association (CA) has provided a new set of guidelines concerning moves amid local lockdowns.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the government, and other authoritative bodies, several observations and studies have been carried out to determine the best course of action when moving during a pandemic. However, the most prevalent conclusion to watch out for above all else is that house moves can proceed without any hindrances to their conveyancing processes.

Based on the guidance set out by the CA, conveyancers can continue to process transactions and move people within ‘local lockdown’ areas unless otherwise stated or legislated by the government or Public Health Guidance. This is provided that they are ensuring all recommended protections are employed and that home movers are aware of their responsibilities in terms of protecting others.

What are the major culprits behind the extended waiting and processing periods?

There are multiple explanations as to why there are more and more bottlenecks that gradually slow down the entire conveyance process from start to finish. To best understand what’s causing the bottleneck, it pays to know the specific points at which more and more restrictions are pouring in, such as the following:

Delay culprit #1: Stamp Duty Holiday

One of the most (if not the most) prevalent reasons the conveyancing process has become much slower or delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic is that there’s a Stamp Duty Holiday.

Applications and transactions aren’t moving as fast as they should amid the rising housing market because required holidays are prolonging the time it takes from start to finish due to additional processing. Fortunately, the wait may prove worth it because it yields a window of opportunity that will help homebuyers save thousands on their tax if they complete their applications before the March 2021 cut-off period.

Delay culprit #2: Annual leaves in full swing

Apart from the SDH, another key reason conveyancing processes have taken longer lies in the compromised levels of productivity and workforce linked to an increase in staff members on annual leave.

In a feat of what some may describe as pure bad luck, many employers in the property sector have been encouraging their staff members to enjoy a well-deserved break after this particular whirlwind of a year. While it may be great to see property sector workers taking leaves (as they should), the move itself intersects with a significant surge in property transactions, creating a massive bottleneck in the process.


As the property market continues to flourish and see increased levels of activity amid the COVID-19 virus, the main concern that many are watching out for is the increased level of delays in conveyancing. With the help of a thorough understanding of why such delays are taking place, you can take the necessary measures to prepare so that you don’t experience any more trouble throughout the process.

Are you looking to streamline your home buying or selling process without taking any unnecessary risks along the way? Then use our trusted and accurate conveyancing calculator today! We provide you with instant prices direct from a UK-regulated SRA property solicitor to help you with your property purchase!


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