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Sheffield buyers beware! It’s England’s gazumping hotspot

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Find out where else in the country you need to be on your guard against better offers

There are a few things as exciting as having your offer accepted on a new home, but you are still far from getting the keys at that stage.

In fact, new research from property guru Phil Spencer’s website, Move iQ, has found that the dreaded practice of gazumping is alive and well in the property market, leaving wannabe buyers disappointed and potentially out of pocket.

The research, conducted with PropTech firm Gazeal, found the worst area for gazumping is Sheffield. Over a third (35 per cent) of would-be buyers in the South Yorkshire city are gazumped, more than double the average for England and Wales (16 per cent).

What is gazumping?

It’s where a seller who has agreed a price with a buyer goes back on the deal after receiving a higher offer from someone else.

It often happens in an overheating property market, where intense competition among buyers leads to bidding wars and the temptation for sellers to leave would-be buyers in the lurch.

That’s the case in Sheffield, according to Move iQ, where average property prices rose by 7 per cent in the 12 months to the end of January, and in Manchester, where a quarter (25 per cent) of buyers suffered being gazumping as prices rose by 7.6% over the same period.

Phil Spencer, TV property expert and co-founder of Move iQ, said: “For anyone who thought gazumping vanished with the runaway price rises of a few years ago, our findings will come as a reality check. Gazumping is alive and well, and still causing heartache for tens of thousands of buyers across England and Wales.

“The culprit is the legal blind spot in the way homes are bought and sold in England and Wales. A legal system that lets sellers leave buyers high and dry weeks, or even months, after accepting their offer is clearly not fit for purpose.”

Clarity and certainty

Move iQ has now teamed up with Gazeal, a PropTech company that enables sellers and buyers to agree a deal that has legal force right from the start.

Duncan Samuel, managing director of Gazeal, added: “Gazeal has a clear goal – to bring greater clarity, certainty and speed to the legal part of buying a home.

“Above all, we’ve taken the nonsense out of the exchange process. All the checks and documents are processed upfront, which speeds up the process. Both seller and buyer can choose to be legally bound to the deal, so no one can walk away. No time wasters, no stress, no surprises.”