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Conveyancing volumes rose by 27% in December

Jake Carter

February 22, 2021

mortgage products drop

Conveyancing volumes rose by 27% in December 2020 according to the latest data by Search Acumen.

The data revealed that there were 73,142 transactions in December 2020, up from 57,632 in November 2020.

December last year represented the busiest month for activity since the onset of the pandemic.

Search Acumen believes the rise in transactions has been driven by the stamp duty holiday stimulating activity in the residential property market.

In addition, the number of active conveyancing firms has continued to rise, however, remains lower than any point pre-pandemic.

The firm’s analysis shows conveyancing volumes jumped 14% in the last quarter alone, rising to 192,063 in Q4 2020, up from 169,143 in Q3 2020.

From Q3 to Q4 2020, firms that ranked 501 to 1,000 saw the biggest proportional increase in business activity, with a 16% rise in registered transactions.

The number of active conveyancing firms continued to rise, increasing by 58% to 3,808 in Q4 from 2,411 in Q2 2020.

However, the number of active conveyancing firms in Q4 2020 is still 3% lower year-on-year.

Furthermore, the average number of monthly transactions for the typical firm rose 47%, up to 50 in Q4 2020 from 34 in Q2, but remained 20% below the pre-pandemic levels of Q1 2020.

The data shows that 680,232 completed transactions were registered in 2020, compared to 958,243 in 2019, representing a 29% fall.

The average conveyancing firm completed 190 transactions in 2020, compared to 240 in 2019.

According to Search Acumen’s analysis, Q4 2020 volumes were down 28% compared to Q4 2019 across the whole of the market.

Firms that ranked 51 to 100 dropped by 6%.

The top five conveyancing firms by volume of business retained a 6% combined market share, despite their activity levels remaining 16% lower in Q4 2020 compared to Q4 2019.

Andy Sommerville, director at Search Acumen, said: “This latest data reveals how much more resilient the property market has been to pandemic-induced shocks compared to the wider economy.

“The surge in activity in the property market can be largely attributed to buyers rushing to capture the savings on offer through the higher stamp duty threshold.

“Demand has also been stimulated by a change in consumer appetite for properties outside of cities with access to green spaces, as more people than ever before are working from home.

“The stamp duty deadline has put enormous pressure on the conveyancing industry and the traditional processes underpinning much of it, not to mention putting lawyers’ stress levels and patience to the test.

“This capacity crunch is set to escalate over the next few months and stretch the limits of existing working practices.

“The conveyancing market is crying out for innovation to better respond to consumer demand.

“For too long the property market has had to rely on traditional ways of working that are a hangover from the last century.

“It is time to move away from creaking processes and equip Lawyers with the data and technology to fully embrace a digital approach to completing due diligence requirements quickly and accurately. Innovation can not only address the current delays in the system but make the industry more robust in the long term.”


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