SearchFlow, the UK’s leading information and data provider for the property transaction market, is today unveiling findings predicting strong sector growth in its second Conveyancer Sentiment Survey.
The research showed that confidence is appearing to return to the marketplace with more than half (59%) of conveyancers expecting their business to continue to grow by 10% or more over the course of the year. Within this figure, a quarter of conveyancers are anticipating growth to exceed 21%. This is despite recent predictions from Nationwide warning against the housing market- particularly in London- facing a “natural correction” and the Bank of England citing the property market as representing the biggest risk to financial stability and long-term recovery.
The findings follow an overwhelmingly positive quarter for the conveyancers surveyed. Three-quarters (75%) saw their volume of work increase by 10% or more in the first quarter of 2014 alone, with 41% of this figure seeing volumes grow by more than 25%. This is an increase of 10% on the previous quarter, where 65% of those surveyed experienced similar growth.
Elsewhere SearchFlow’s research shows that conveyancers believe Help to Buy has had a negligible impact on market growth; 73% of conveyancers believe it has made no difference with just over a quarter (27%) saying it has contributed “somewhat”. Once again it is direct business that is fuelling growth with nearly three quarters (72%) of conveyancers seeing the highest growth here.
Despite this confidence, conveyancers continue to maintain a degree of caution when it comes to investing in recruitment, certainly in the short-term. While over half (52%) are looking at increasing their headcount in the next quarter, 27% said it would be unlikely with one-fifth (21%) saying team growth is “very unlikely”.
SearchFlow’s Conveyancer Sentiment Survey highlights a real requirement for the conveyancing sector to educate homebuyers around flooding risk. Sixty-five per cent of conveyancers stated that the floods have changed their view of flood risk when undertaking searches. However this is not reflected in consumer attitudes. Fifty-five per cent of conveyancers see no change in their clients’ attitude to risk with 37% seeing a minor shift in attitudes.
“Our second survey with The Law Society Gazette indicates that confidence within the sector remains strong,” comments Perran Moon, Marketing Director, at SearchFlow.“However we need to be mindful of the strong dynamics at play here. Although 73% of conveyancers state Help to Buy has had no positive impact, it would appear that the media noise around this has encouraged people who might not otherwise have considered moving to do so. As an industry we need to address the fundamental issue of a lack of housing supply. The Home Builders Federation estimate the UK is now one million homes short, so to create a sustainable market place, this needs to be addressed along with the requirement for resultant infrastructure changes.”