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Local Authority Search turnaround times up by as much as 933%

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Mars
 Mars
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I received this today from Home Sale Pack who have analysed the most recent data around the time it takes for England & Wales’ local planning councils to turnaround Local Authority Searches (LA Searches) - an essential part of the conveyancing process - to see how the expected turnaround time has changed between January 2023 and February 2024. 

The analysis reveals that:

  • Today, the average turnaround time for an LA Search in England & Wales is 13 days. This is four days less than the 2023 average of 17 days, marking an annual reduction of -22.5%.
  • Cooling housing market conditions and reduced buyer demand means that across England & Wales’ 344 local councils, 132 (38%) have managed to reduce the average turnaround time since last year. 
  • With the most impressive reduction of all local authorities, Gloucester City Council has reduced its average turnaround time by -94.4%, falling from 177 days in January 2023 to just 10 days today.
  • South Derbyshire District Council has reduced its waiting time by -83.3%, from 30 days down to just five, while the average LA Search by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council now takes 10 days compared to 55 days in January 2023 - an annual reduction of -81.8%. 
  • While many authorities have managed to reduce their waiting times, it’s clear that some are still struggling when it comes to servicing the market, with 53 (15%) of the nation’s 344 planning councils recording an increase in average LA Search turnaround times. 
  • The largest increase has been recorded by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council. Today, it takes an average of 62 days to return an LA Search compared to just 6 days in January 2023. This is an astonishing annual increase of 933.3%. 
  • LA Searches by Bridgend County Borough Council now take 134 days compared to a 30-day average last year - an increase of 346.7% - and Southend-on-Sea City Council has seen the average LA Search turnaround time increase by 250%, rising from two days to seven days. 
  • Other councils to see an increase of more than 100% are North Northamptonshire Council (150%), South Ribble Borough Council (133.3%), Cumberland Council (114.3%), and Bolton Metro Borough Council (106.7%).

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