The Pace of Change in Residential Conveyancing
This month marks my second-year anniversary at SearchFlow and a majority of my time here has been spent operating within a Covid-19 world. The market that I have therefore witnessed has been anything but ‘typical’ and it’s not until you take time out to reflect on the last year that we can appreciate just what a rollercoaster ride the entire market has been on.
Having seen the latest edition of Landmark Information Group’s Property Trends Report it makes for really interesting reading. When comparing against the cross-market 2019 baseline data (to show what a ‘normal’ year looked like), the impact of the Chancellor’s 2020 and 2021 stimulus resulted in a real boost to the market.
Despite the Covid market dip, between July and December 2020, new property listings and Sold Subject to Contract data were both more than the 2019 data each month. The same pattern is echoed when looking at the legal end of the transaction chain, where searches ordered have been consistently higher than 2019 baseline data. In the last quarter, search order volumes were up 43% in April and 27% in May, compared to 2019, ahead of the June SDLT holiday deadline.
The rise in completion figures began to significantly increase from October 2020 onwards, as chains completed and sales resulting from the stimulus activities came to fruition. We can see that by March 2021, completions were 66% higher than 2019 activities as buyers rushed to meet the first deadline. Of course, this was then extended to the end of June, so the data once again shows the fantastic results achieved by the entire industry in bringing everything together, as completions peaked, now reporting 85% higher volumes than those in 2019.
The volumes and workloads that colleagues across the industry have handled has been nothing short of exceptional. Clearly, the uncertain ‘patterns’ of the market remain in place a little as the Stamp Duty holiday has now been tapered so SDLT will not apply on properties up to the value of £250,000 until the end of September, before the nil rate band returns to £125,000 from 1st October 2021.
One thing is for sure, the last two years that I have been privileged to be at the helm has seen so much change; we have seen the legal industry further embrace technology as firms adapted to home working, innovation has continued to come to the fore amid the restrictions. Therefore as intensive caseloads lessen when Stamp Duty thresholds revert to the norm, we foresee a renewed vigour towards digital transformation in legal practices’ property workflows.
For more information on the Property Trends Report visit:
For more details regarding SearchFlow, visit www.searchflow.co.uk.
Dr Tom Quirke is Managing Director at SearchFlow
This article was submitted to be published by Searchflow as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.