The end for gazumping or gazundering? All in the detail.

Meetings between the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the NAEA began last year, when the talk was all about bringing the English and Welsh house buying systems in line with the Scotland (where the vendor pays for upfront survey fees, and a purchase agreement is binding at the point of exchange rather than completion). Although Communities Secretary Sajid Javid stopped short of an announcement last week, the suggestion appears to be that instead of a move to the Scottish system, some kind of lock-in is in development, in which there’d be penalties for a party that pulled out of an agreement, mostly likely a percentage of agreed purchase price.

Perhaps he was anticipating a lack of enthusiasm for the Scottish system from vendors, who would not only be taking on more upfront expense but also be denied a period in which they could accept a higher offer. And the tabloids certainly lauded any potential re-working as an attack on the gazumper. But really, in the current market, defined by softening prices, low levels of activity and widespread uncertainty about the economy, job prospects and interest rates, vendors might want to consider this something of a gift. Financial uncertainty and long waiting times before completion… sounds more like a recipe for gazundering to me. More here.