Homeowners and buyers are increasingly concerned about the prospect of being gazundered, which is buyers dropping the offer price just before exchange, a new report has found.
The study, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the HomeOwners Alliance, BLP Insurance and Resi.co.uk architects, found that around 45% of respondents admitted worrying about gazundering.
The figure has jumped from the 40 per cent of respondents who pinpointed gazundering as a problem last year.
Gazundering concerns are at their highest in London and the South East (50 per cent of respondents), and at their lowest in Wales (39 per cent).
However, the biggest concern identified by respondents was the quality of housing in the UK. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) cited the standard of the nation’s housing as a serious concern, up by 6 per cent from last year, which jumped to 69 per cent of those living in rented accommodation.
Negative equity also jumped in the concern stakes over the year, with a 3 per cent rise in the number of respondents pinpointing it as a problem, taking it to 45 per cent.
The study found that the fastest rising issue over the last five years is the leasehold system. The number of UK adults describing it as a serious problem now stands at 60 per cent, up by 4 per cent from last year and up 18 per cent from 2015.
Among leaseholders, the biggest problems identified by the survey include the high cost of works and management fees (26 per cent), a lack of control of what works are carried out (23 per cent) and unfair service charges (22 per cent).
Kim Vernau, chief executive officer of BLP Insurance, said that the housing industry was “rife with systematic faults”, arguing that the pressure to boost the number of new homes built had led to a noticeable drop in quality.
He added: “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.
“To restore confidence in a faltering sector, more emphasis needs to be placed on improving quality of build and resisting short-term populist solutions to our deepening housing crisis.”