Home sellers across England and Wales are worried by a rise in gazundering. That's the practice where a buyer reduces their offer just before contracts are exchanged, leaving the seller with the quandary of accepting the lower price or having to start the sale process all over again.
The annual Homeowners' Survey, carried out by the Homeowners Alliance (HOA), has revealed that gazundering is one of the biggest concerns property owners have.
According to the research, the number of property sales affected by gazundering has risen from 40 to 45 percent in the last year alone.
Negative equity a concern
Homeowners are also starting to worry about the possibility of negative equity, where the value of their property drops below the outstanding finance owed on it, with 45 percent of those quizzed for the survey saying they are concerned for their property's value.
The survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the HOA, BLP Insurance and architects resi.co.uk.
Its main findings have revealed that two-thirds (63 percent) of adults are worried about the quality of the UK housing stock, while an astonishing 85 percent say house prices and saving for a deposit are the biggest issues in housing.
Meanwhile, 60 percent are concerned about the leasehold system that's in operation in England and Wales. A recent Commons report has called on the Government to take urgent action to reform leasehold to make it fairer for leaseholders.
Caution caused by harmful practices
Kim Vernau, CEO of BLP Insurance, said the results of the survey "cast another dark shadow" over Britain's housing industry.
She said: "In an already stagnating market, where harmful practices like gazundering are commonplace, poor quality of build and the plausible threat of depreciating asset value are compounding pre-existing caution from potential buyers and investors."