After 14 years of deliberations the government has decided it needs more time to consider the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry.
The vacillation is in part down to the sale of the Royal Mail, which provoked serious conflict inside the coalition.
The Registry, a 150-year-old body created in the 1860s to record land and property ownership, has been facing possible privatisation since 2000, when it was revealed in parliament that the government was considering a sale. Any such float would be expected to earn about £1.2bn.
A consultation launched in January has concluded that further time is needed to evaluate the benefits of a sale, in part down to the importance of the institution and its 4,500-strong workforce.
Several options are on the table, including establishing the Registry as a government-owned company which could then be privately run, an outright sale, or a scenario in which the new company would be managed in a tandem between the government and a private firm.
The company is in rude health financially and recorded a £98.8m surplus last year and revenue of £347.2m.