Manual property settlements are holding back the housing market

Archaic and error-prone manual property settlements are holding back the residential property market, with one in five consumers suffering long delays



One in three homeowners say archaic and error-prone property settlement practices cause unnecessary stress, cost and delay when buying a home. 

The findings – released in PwC’s Digital Property Report, based on research commissioned by Property Exchange Australia Limited (PEXA) – revealed that one in three consumers find the process of property settlement stressful, with one in five suffering long delays – of up to a year in one case.

The median delay was seven days, and affected an average of three people for each delay, according to the report.

Fourteen per cent of the postponed settlements resulted in additional property settlement delays, where the vendor subsequently had to delay another property settlement until funds were received, creating a knock on effect. 

Thus, the cycle continues with multiple property settlements hindered over and above the initial settlement delay.

PEXA CEO, Marcus Price says these finding demonstrate why it is time to bring property transactions into the digital economy and unlock the industry in the same way the ASX did for share transactions more than two decades ago.

“We live in a digital era where consumers are already searching to buy properties online. So it’s not good enough that many Australian consumers are bearing the emotional and financial toll that comes with buying and selling homes because the final steps of conveyancing fail in some way,” he said.

“Property transfer affects everyone buying or selling a home. Fast, safe and efficient transactions will occur with state governments, lenders and property professionals collaborating to drive change.”

PEXA is currently live in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia. There are currently 21 Financial Institutions subscribed to PEXA, including the four big banks and over 1,500 legal and conveyancing firms who are active or joining PEXA. More than 25,000 property transactions have been completed through PEXA to date.

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