“Christmas in June” for conveyancers

Property completions are up 85% in June 2021 versus 2019, as the industry races to beat Stamp Duty holiday deadline. Meanwhile, conveyancers experienced ‘Christmas in June’, as ‘completion to instruction ratio’ matches pre-Christmas rush seen in 2019

Data from the latest edition of Landmark Information Group’s quarterly Property Trends Report has shown that residential property completions in June were 85% higher compared to the same month in 2019,  spurred on by the 30th June Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday deadline.

As property professionals worked around the clock to finalise as many transactions as possible, the cross-market analysis shows property search orders were up 43% in April 2021, compared to the same month in 2019.

Within the Property Trends Report, further analysis is published on the Completions to Instructions Ratio (CIR). This data stood at 82% at the end of the first quarter of the year, yet jumped to 115% in June 2021 – comparable to the pre-Christmas completion rush that property lawyers saw in 2019 – as legal professionals worked hard to meet the Stamp Duty holiday deadline.

The CIR ratio provides a good barometer for identifying how much pressure conveyancing lawyers are facing: typically a higher percentage indicates a more stable and manageable relationship between incoming and outgoing workloads. As a guide, the average CIR for a ‘normal’ year (2019) was 69%. The ratio of 115% however underlines the achievement of conveyancers who worked hard to push high volumes of transaction through to completion and manage high workloads with new instructions too.

Key Findings:

Property Listings: While listings were up by 7% this April compared to the same month in 2019, they were overall down on average by 5% at the half year point, showing a slow in supply, compared to demand remaining strong.   This lack of supply may limit the volume of sales, and has the propensity to push prices up, as buyers have fewer properties available to them.

Sold Subject to Contract: For properties converting to Sold Subject to Contract, the data shows market activity was 22% higher in April 2021 compared to April 2019, yet June aligns more closely with 2019, and 2020 figures which was the first full month out of the first lockdown after three months of minimal activity.

Legal Conveyancing: Property search order volumes saw a surge as lawyers and conveyancers worked hard to meet the Stamp Duty deadline; Landmark’s data reports a sustained increase when compared to 2019 data, with search order volumes up 43% in April and 27% in May, while June shows a 9% increase, as conveyancers’ focus likely switched to completion activities.

Completions:  Data shows that completions in June were a significant 85% higher than in 2019, far exceeding the 66% surge that was reported in March as conveyancers worked hard to meet the Chancellor’s first original Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday deadline, before it was further extended to the end of June.

Simon Brown, CEO of Landmark Information Group said,

“It has been the most remarkable quarter in the residential property industry, with everyone working tirelessly to make sure as many homebuyers as possible were able to capitalise on the Stamp Duty holiday.   Indeed, not only did we see completion volumes peak in June, but we recorded the highest quarterly number of mortgage valuation instructions to go through our business since we started recording the data in 2014.  We now await the next quarter to see if supply and demand balance out, or if transaction patterns will start to align more closely to the pre-pandemic figures of 2019.”

Spanning property listings, sold subject to contract, legal conveyancing and completions, the data used is extracted from Landmark Information Group’s business entities, which have touchpoints across the whole UK property market transaction pipeline, and offers a truly unified view of the whole England and Wales property market.

The Property Trends Report provides cross-market trend analysis for the residential property market pipeline in England and Wales and assesses transaction movements across the estate agency and conveyancing sectors.  To view the report visit: https://www.landmark.co.uk/news-insights/industry-reports/landmark-property-trends-report-july-2021/.

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