Four fifths of UK homebuyers are in favour of banning gazumping in England and Wales, research by Market Financial Solutions (MFS) has found.
Some 79% are in favour of the government introducing laws to ban gazumping in England and Wales, as people think the practice has become more common in recent years due to high demand and limited supply.
A third (31%) of buyers were gazumped at least once while trying to buy their property, with the figure rising to 52% among those who bought in London.
Paresh Raja, chief executive of MFS, said: “With demand for UK property constantly high, buying a home has become very competitive. Consequently, despite wanting to ban gazumping altogether, many buyers clearly fear that they will lose out on their desired property at critical closing stages if they don’t partake in gazumping tactics.
“Aside from the obvious financial costs of being gazumped, missing out on a property can be the source of a great deal of frustration and emotional damage. MFS’s research shows that long property chains and time-consuming mortgage applications often leave homebuyers open to gazumping. So, preparation is key – sourcing the right lender and product ahead of time, and working with service providers who can act quickly, could prove crucial in ensuring a deal is completed with no complications.
“More generally, it will be intriguing to see if the government does indeed bring about any legislation or reform to crack down on the practice of gazumping, which evidently remains prevalent in the English and Welsh property market.”
Gazumping is rarer in Scotland because Law Society of Scotland rules dictate that, where a solicitor has accepted an offer on behalf of their client, they cannot accept another offer from a different party.
That means sellers would have to switch solicitors to engage in the practice.
Despite their distaste for gazumping, 47% of buyers admitted they would consider outbidding a rival in the future if it meant getting the property they wanted.
A quarter (25%) of homebuyers were gazumped because they were stuck in a long property chain and took too long to complete the purchase. Another 20% saw it happen due to delays and long waiting times in getting a mortgage.
Almost a quarter (23%) said that they lost money in intermediary fees as a result of being gazumped, costing a typical £2,700.