Commercial law firm criticises defensive valuations

Commercial law firm criticises defensive valuations


Surveyors undervaluing properties for sale are choking any potential recovery in the housing market, according to commercial law firm McGrigors.

The group has said that surveyors are “piling more misery onto the sector” by undervaluing properties by up to 20% of the sale price they go on to achieve, which means that buyers often have to come up with a bigger deposit.

Using the example of a flat with an agreed price of £120,000, the firm says that if a buyer goes for an 80% LTV mortgage, they can borrow £96,000. However, if a surveyor values the property at £100,000, the buyer can only borrow £80,000, meaning they will have to make up a deposit of £40,000 rather than £24,000.

Suzanne Gill, partner at McGrigors, commented: “Surveyors are making some very defensive valuations which are significantly below prices which have been agreed between seller and buyer. This is making it much more difficult for sales to complete and holding back house price growth.”

However, considering that the over-optimistic valuations during the boom years no doubt contributed to the 900,000 homeowners currently facing negative equity in the UK (and need we mention the whole housing market crisis?) perhaps we shouldn’t lay too much blame with surveyors for trying to play it safe for now.

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