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Smaller sales pipeline speeds up home-moves by almost a month

  • The conveyancing log-jam is starting to ease, with the average time from a sale being agreed until a purchase completes dropping from an average of 154 days in July to 127 days in October
  • Number of homes currently going through the legal process is 550,000, a more manageable number for conveyancers than the record 700,000 recorded back in June, though still over 160,000 higher than October 2019
  • Based on the average time it takes to move home, an estimated 300,000 of all home moves currently in the legal process are likely to complete in time for Christmas, to end the year with a total of 1.5 million sales across Great Britain

The average time it is taking home-movers to get through the conveyancing process has dropped by 27 days since the summer, as a smaller pipeline helps to speed up home moves.

The study, from the UK’s biggest property website Rightmove, reveals it is taking just over four months (127 days) from a sale being agreed until it completes. This is down from five months (154 days) back in July.

The average time between 2017 and 2019 was three and a half months (104 days), so although conveyancing times haven’t fully recovered yet, the time to find a buyer is at an all-time low of 37 days nationally, meaning the total time sellers should be allowing is five and a half months.

Rightmove predicts that by the end of the year one and a half million homes will have been sold across Great Britain. This would be the highest number of home sales since 2007, 47% higher than in 2020 and 31% higher than in 2019.

So far this year Rightmove estimates that there have been 1.2 million transactions. There are a further 300,000 home-movers who are likely to make it through the conveyancing process in time to complete this year, and enjoy Christmas dinner in their new home. This is based on the average time of 127 days from a sale being agreed until completion.

Another 250,000 home-movers are currently going through the legal process and are likely to complete in early 2022. In October 2019 there were 150,000 home-movers going through the legal process who completed in 2020.

The 300,000 expected to complete by the end of this year and the further 250,000 who will likely complete in 2022 means the total number of homes currently changing hands is 550,000. This is over 160,000 more than in October 2019 when the pipeline was 390,000, but lower than the 700,000 back in June this year.

Total sales pipeline No. of sales completed by end of year
No. sales pushed to following year to complete
October 2021 550,000 300,000 (estimated) 250,000 (estimated)
October 2019 390,000 240,000 150,000


Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Property Expert, said: 

“The good news is that people moving home right now are hopefully seeing quicker conveyancing times than those earlier in the year. There’s likely to be a conveyancing rush in December among those people desperately hoping to be able to celebrate the festive period in their new home. Since 2014 the number of home sales in a year was pretty consistent at between 1.1 million and 1.2 million, but the effects of the pandemic have disrupted that level this year and we’re likely to end up with the highest number of sales in one year since 2007. More people have been relocating, more have moved to bigger homes, and many made use of the stamp duty holidays. 

“Demand is still remarkably strong for the time of year and sales are up on this time in 2019, and it seems there’s a new group of people in the market. Some are considering if they need to be near a station to commute to work, there are down-sizers realising now is a good time to cash in, and first-time buyers have a renewed energy to find their perfect place in busy towns and cities. Sellers thinking about making 2022 their year to move should be starting to get ready to sell, as if they get going now they could be in their new home before spring next year.”


  • Estimated transactions are based on properties being marked as sale agreed by agents on Rightmove
  • 300,000 further transactions this year is based on all sales agreed before 18th August completing before 23rd December (127 days)
  • The other 250k in the pipeline had a sale agreed after 18th August and so are unlikely to complete in time for Christmas based on the average time.