I wonder whether it would be possible to obtain from Stamp Duty Land Tax records the average gap between exchange of contracts and completion in residential transactions?

I am certain from my own experience that the gap is narrowing all the time, to such an extent that I suspect exchange of contracts will be redundant in the next few years.

I suspect there are various reasons for this. First, the perceived unreliability of mortgage lenders to transfer the funds on time; second, the obligation to insure falling upon the buyer after exchange of contracts; and third, the reluctance of young, inexperienced conveyancers (there are many) to ‘take the plunge’.

Does the Law Society have any views on this? When I first came into the profession the average time lapse between exchange and completion was 28 days – now a gap of 28 minutes is not uncommon.

John Godwin, conveyancing partner, Brown & Corbishley, Newcastle-under-Lyme