Volumes increased 14 per cent in the fourth quarter, from 169,143 to 192,063
There was a 27 per cent rise in conveyancing volumes between November and December last year, according a report by Search Acumen.
This equates to a rise from 57,632 to 73,142 transactions logged.
On a quarterly basis, volumes increased 14 per cent in the fourth quarter, from 169,143 to 192,063. At the same time, the number of active conveyancing firms increased 58 per cent, from 2,411 to 3,808.
The number of active firms in the fourth quarter was 3 per cent lower annually, however, and remains lower than any time prior to the pandemic since the second quarter of 2011, adds Search Acumen.
The average conveyancing firm saw a 47 per cent rise in transactions – from 34 to 50 – in Q4 of last year, which is 20 per cent lower than the average in the first quarter of 2020.
In total, Search Acumen’s data shows 680,232 transactions completed in 2020 compared to 958,243 in 2019 – down 29 per cent.
It adds that the average firm completed 190 transactions in 2020 and 240 in 2019.
Search Acumen director Andy Sommerville comments: The stamp duty deadline has put enormous pressure on the conveyancing industry and the traditional processes underpinning much of it, not to mention putting lawyers’ stress levels and patience to the test.
This capacity crunch is set to escalate over the next few months and stretch the limits of existing working practices. The conveyancing market is crying out for innovation to better respond to consumer demand, Sommerville said.
He said, for too long the property market has had to rely on traditional ways of working that are a hangover from the last century. It is time to move away from creaking processes and equip lawyers with the data and technology to fully embrace a digital approach to completing due diligence requirements quickly and accurately. Innovation can not only address the current delays in the system but make the industry more robust in the long term.