Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Number of active conveyancing firms ‘stabilises’

property data insight

The top 20 conveyancing firms recorded the strongest quarterly performance, with activity rising 4% from Q2

Search Acumen, the property data insight and technology provider, has issued the latest edition of its quarterly Conveyancing Market Tracker for Q3 2021, revealing that the number of active conveyancing firms has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, stabilising at just more than 4,000 for the second quarter in a row.

The report shows that the top-ranking conveyancing firms registered their biggest total number of transactions at this end of the market since Q4 2014 at 79,402 transactions between July and September.

Across the whole market, completed transactions declined to 279,689 in Q3 2021, a 4% decrease from the previous quarter but still a 65% rise on Q3 2020 as activity continues to increase. Business levels for the average firm remain elevated at 70 transactions during Q3, up 54% annually from 45 in Q3 2020.

The top 20 conveyancing firms recorded the strongest quarterly performance, with activity rising 4% from Q2. This came despite a 4% decline in transactions across the market as a whole, as activity cooled slightly following the tapering of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday at the end of June 2021.

The research also shows that the number of active conveyancing firms stabilised during Q3. Figures show that a total of 4,021 firms registered completed transactions between July and September, down from 4,048 between April and June. But this still compares well to recent trends: prior to Q2 2021, the number of active firms per quarter had persistently lagged below 4,000 since Q3 2019, and dropped as low as 2,411 during Q2 2020 at the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown when property market activity was heavily restricted.

Search Acumen’s analysis shows that 16% fewer conveyancing firms were active in Q3 2020 compared with the same period this year despite the SDLT break having been newly introduced by the Government in July 2020 to support the pandemic recovery.

Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, commented: While this latest data shows a slight slowdown in the conveyancing market from the staggering heights of the first Stamp Duty deadline in June, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. The reality is that, for another three months, strong market performance has brought continuing pressures and heightened expectations of conveyancers and real estate lawyers to turn people’s property buying ambitions into reality, often to very demanding schedules.

He said: The tapering of the SDLT holiday during Q3, before the final curtain fell in September, meant activity dipped slightly compared to the frenzy seen earlier in the year when bigger savings were up for grabs. However, the conveyancing market has continued to operate at an elevated level, and those firms ranking in the top 100 are juggling close to record levels of business to keep the nation moving.


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