Transaction times have never been in sharper focus

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

  • Non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in September 2022 remains on par with August 2022, with 0% change
  • Current monthly transactions remain at levels similar to late 2019, before the pandemic

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

“As buyers rush to complete off the back of existing mortgage offers, transaction times have never been in sharper focus. This morning’s property transactions figures show a steadying of volume across September, as conveyancers continue the mammoth task of completing on homes from the summer property boom. However, the need for speed feels especially acute after some 1,000 mortgage deals were removed from sale by lenders last month, following the chaotic mini-budget.

“As the political and economic climate remains unsteady and house prices start to soften, the pendulum is swinging towards a buyers’ market. The shifting dynamics of the property market may in turn increase pressure on conveyancers to not just beat expiring borrowing offers, but also to exchange before Christmas. It’s no longer the buyer with the highest offer who wins, but the buyer with the fewest complications in fear of protracted transactions and higher risks. While HMLR reassuringly reports a continuation in monthly transaction volumes, it will be an uphill battle to maintain this trajectory as reports of chains collapsing and sellers withdrawing become the new normal.

“The only way property solicitors can truly get to grips with the mounting workload is to be on the front foot of digitisation and automation. We know a digital first approach can save the average conveyancer 115 hours a month, something which we’re already seeing in the digitalisation of AP1 submissions, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Software can seamlessly integrate a number of different searches and administrative duties into a single platform, linking estate agents to lawyers. Embracing innovation doesn’t have to take up massive headroom either; third party technology providers can do the leg work and ensure optimum efficiencies across the board. A truly digital property transaction process is in reach and must be accelerated if the industry is to survive the economic headwinds that are ahead.”


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