Government cutbacks will affect the industry’s ability to respond to demand

Search AcumenSearch Acumen (property data insight and technology provider) comments on HMRC’s property transactions data for November 2022:

  • Seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in November 2022 is 107,190, less than 1% higher than October 2022
  • Seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in November 2022 is 9,910, 2% higher than October 2022

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, the property data and insight provider, comments:

“The realities of the cost of living crisis are undoubtedly having an impact on the housing market, with transaction volumes levelling out as we head towards the end of the year. With the Bank of England recently raising its base rate for the ninth time in a row to 3.5%, homeowners looking for a mortgage are facing inflated payments, alongside a cooling housing market, as the UK’s recessionary period settles in. So, the market does still continue to move, only slowly, with a less than 1% rise in the transaction volumes on October’s numbers. Conveyancers are continuing their efforts to get property sales over the line in time for Christmas, addressing the backlog that still stands from a sustained busy spell as a result of the extreme market activity and the pandemic. However, despite the sustained activity in the market, it is likely that Government cutbacks and a new focus on public sector efficiency, along with threats of HM Land Registry strikes, will affect the industry’s ability to respond to demand.

“The best way for conveyancers to keep pace is by leveraging technology to assist with the parts of their job that can be automated. This allows property lawyers to focus on the parts of the job that require their expertise, rather than manually completing tasks that could be done quicker using the digital systems. Compounding the pressures of sustained demand, our latest Conveyancing Market Tracker revealed that the number of active conveyancing firms has risen by less than 1% year-on-year and over a ten-year period, the number of conveyancing firms supporting the housing market has reduced by more than 10%. These figures demonstrate the burden on conveyancers, who are facing elevated caseloads as they attempt to battle through transactions, with fewer colleagues than they need to keep up with demand. Using technology will alleviate some of this pressure, shortening the time it takes to finish a case, allowing each lawyer to take on more cases per year and helping those who are looking to complete transactions before market conditions worsen.”


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