Top five conveyancing firms gain most from property surge


for sale

Buyers galore: second busiest quarter since the recession

The top five conveyancing firms handled 10% more transactions in the second quarter of this year than in the same quarter the previous year, research has shown.

Total conveyancing activity was up by 5%, and the numbers of transactions, at over 230,000, was the second busiest quarter for firms since the recession.

The Conveyancing Market Tracker Survey by Search Acumen, based on data from the Land Registry, showed that were 73% more transactions in the second quarter of this year than the same quarter in 2011.

The surge in activity showed the market bouncing back from a disappointing first quarter of 2015, when there were 14% fewer transactions, and the top five firms handling more than a third less than in the previous year.

Researchers reported that the bottom half of the top 100 conveyancing firms had shown the fastest growth in the years since 2011.

The number of transactions they handled has increased by 114% in four years, only 1% more than firms ranked from 21 to 50, but far more than the 62% increase in workload at the top five firms.

However, market share has not changed so dramatically since 2011, with the biggest change being the fall in transactions handled by firms outside the top 1,000 – from 34% to 28%.

Mark Riddick, chairman of Search Acumen, said: “Conveyancers can look forward to a buoyant second half of the year, but the aggressive growth of those towards the top of the food chain should sound alarm bells for the competition.

“Having the resources to chase more business is only part of the recipe for success. Unless conveyancers have the processes to make best use of their assets and cope with an influx of customers, they will struggle to make the most of opportunities for growth.

“Those firms who are lagging at the midway point of 2015 and have ambitions to do better will need to think hard about why, and how to turn things round.”

Mr Riddick said that “after the disruption caused by changing mortgage regulations and the general election”, conveyancing activity was “back within touching distance” of the levels seen in the first half of 2014.

“Mark Carney’s latest hints of a possible interest rate rise by the year end may bring another boost to transactions as buyers look to expedite property purchases.”

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