Agents are complaining that it is taking so long for their local authority to turn round searches that deals are falling through.
Michael Brain, of Hannells Estate Agents in Derby, said that the timescale is now 17 to 19 weeks.
Two meetings have taken place between the city council and worried local agents and solicitors.
Brain said: “The council made promises to work on the backlog which stood at 542 outstanding searches.
“Following that, in the first week council officers completed 104 searches, but it dropped to 62 searches the following week.
“With between 50 and 60 new searches being generated across the city each week, it is easy to see why the backlog will almost never be cleared. It is crippling the market.”
Agents have been told that that staff were pulled off searches to act as election officers, while there have also been IT problems and staff sickness.
A Derby City Council spokesperson acknowledged that timescales for searches are taking longer than they should, saying: “The council is committed to improving turnaround times as a priority for the coming year.”