Smaller ‘Challenger Conveyancing firms’ boost annual transactions

The lower half of top 100 conveyancing firms, known as ‘challenger firms’, have seen the biggest increase in transactions rather than the larger established firm brands during the second quarter of 2018, according to Search Acumen report.

In the second quarter, the report found that total conveyancing volumes for England and Wales grew 14% annually to 241,245, by way of comparison, it was down 11% during the first quarter of this year.

Firms in the market that were ranked between 51st and 100th by size gained the largest yearly transaction growth at 23%, while those ranked 1st to 50th followed closely behind with 19% annual growth.

The conveyancing market has experienced a degree of fluctuation in the past 12 months as overall firms completed 58 cases on average in the second quarter of 2018, which is up by seven in comparison with 2017 (51) but down six cases on the first quarter of this year (64).

Over the last four years, those firms who ordinarily process over 50 transactions per month have increased in numbers, while the number of those processing under 50 have shrunk.

Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen, said: “There is no doubt that the conveyancing market is facing a challenging 2018, as housing transactions continue to see sluggish growth amid ongoing uncertainty across the country.

“Economically, the year was always going to be an unpredictable period, but our figures give plenty of reason for UK conveyancers to keep a spring in their step.

“Despite the testing environment, it is interesting to see challengers in the market – those mid-sized conveyancers – have enjoyed robust growth over the last year. In contrast, ‘occasional conveyancers’ have continued to diminish in number.

“Technology is already significantly reshaping the conveyancing market and all firms – both large and small – should be preparing for the challenges and opportunities that variances in market activity bring.

“If activity levels remain relatively subdued in the short term it will be interesting to see how the competitive landscape responds.

“Challenger firms are pressing on through uncertain times and the signs suggest that larger firms are getting smarter and more efficient to take advantage of a challenging market.”

It is clear from the stats that the conveyancing industry is experiencing turbulent times as the market proves unpredictable.

But figures suggest there is still a reason for conveyancers to feel a little confident, despite a choppy marketplace, the ‘challengers’ have relished healthy growth over the last year and new adopted technology will bring fresh opportunities on the horizon.

As a professional conveyancer on the ground what is your experience of the marketplace?

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