Property search firm keeps the housing market moving during the pandemic

X-Press Legal Services, the UK’s largest independent search provider, has witnessed one of its busiest years in its two decades of operation as the housing market boomed during the pandemic. 

The firm has seen a 50 per cent increase in the number and value of orders year on year as consumers rushed to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday break.

Lynne Lister, Managing Director of X-Press Legal Services comments:

“Although we had a slow period when the housing market was effectively closed for two months during the first lockdown, the measures put in place by the government to encourage buyers to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday have resulted in record numbers of transactions.”

The holiday, which was introduced to keep the property market moving throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ended for properties up to £500,000 on 30th June 2021. But for those looking to buy more affordable homes, the tax-break will continue for properties up to £250,000 until 30th September 2021.

X-Press Legal Services has a network of 27 offices across England and Wales and it is the local owners that perform an essential role in the property buying process. They deliver thousands of property searches and reports per year to the conveyancing sector and are trusted by hundreds of legal practices nationwide.

To support and speed up the conveyancing process for its clients during the pandemic, and throughout the property boom, X-Press also partnered with a remote onboarding app to offer a compliant remote client id verification as part of its suite of digital data services. Their partnership with Thirdfort was announced as industry regulators reminded legal practitioners of the importance of using electronic ID and verification processes in order to safely comply with government social distancing advice whilst in lockdown.

Lynne continues:

“As property search specialists, we liaise with local councils every day to access information which is vital to the conveyancing process. Much like other parts of the conveyancing sector, many local councils and search departments have been under incredible pressure throughout the stamp duty holiday, and many didn’t have the technology to meet this increased demand – leading to huge backlogs in turnaround times for reports.

“Our local teams on the ground have gone over and above to support our conveyancing clients which is reflected in the operating figures we are witnessing today.  Last July we took almost 7,000 orders from our clients worth almost £1.2 million, and we matched that figure within the first two weeks of July 2021.”

Now that the stamp duty holiday has begun to taper off, local councils can catch up and new transactions may benefit from quicker turnaround times.

Lynne concludes:

“We are proud of the success of our local owners who have really pulled together in what has been an exceptional year in more ways than one.

“As the property sector is currently showing no signs of slowing down, head office has been providing new products and services featuring innovative new technology to enable the network to continue to deliver only the very best to our conveyancing clients.”

Today's Conveyancer