Early binding contracts

Leslie Dubow and the SPG are wrong if they think that an early binding contract would not operate to the advantage of English consumers. The differences he cites between the Scottish and the English markets are of highly dubious relevance or accuracy.

Scots are just as anxious to coincide their sales and purchases. I am amused at the suggestion that we are more willing than the English to move in with relatives or to rent to allow a sale to proceed.

To suggest that during the recession Scots frequently paid very high interest for several years on open-ended bridging is simply nonsense. In a poor market, Scots try to sell before they buy.

Early binding contracts give vendor and purchaser far greater certainty, security and confidence. Gazumping and gazundering are largely eliminated. Price inflation is restrained because offers are informed by valuation. It is no accident that Scotland had virtually no negative equity problem, and that possessions by lenders run at less than half the English rate.

The Scottish system has its drawbacks, particularly the multiple survey problem. If we could crack that, the case for the early binding contract would be virtually unanswerable.

John Urquhart

Legal dept, Nationwide.