UK in grip of gazumping

18 March 2006
A third of people with their eye on a property in the UK have seen the sale fall through, according to new research.

And a third of these, some three million, put their loss down to the practice of gazumping, says Scottish Widows Bank.

Gazumping is the name given to the situation that arises when a prospective buyer is supplanted by another customer offering a higher price at the last minute.

Apparently the UK tops the European league in gazumping, with 37 per cent of people in England and Wales saying they had fallen prey to the practice in the past.

Around a fifth (19 per cent) pulled out of the process after a survey had been carried out, while five per cent failed to arrange a mortgage on time.

The findings also showed that people were not spending very long considering what was likely to be the largest purchase of their lives.

Around two thirds of respondents said they spent about half an hour looking over a possible property, while 20 per cent bought the first one they were shown.

Murdo McHardy, head of product development and marketing, said: "Spending relatively little time on the property hunt doesn't seem to reflect the fact that for many of us, it is the biggest financial commitment we're ever likely to make."

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