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The UK’s cooling property market may have wide-ranging effects on even the largest conveyancing firms, latest statistics suggest.
According to research firm Search Acumen’s most recent market tracker survey, there were more than 100,000 fewer property transactions in the first nine months of this year compared with the equivalent period in 2016 (731,799 this year compared with 832,684 three years ago).
The Law Society Gazette reports that the top 1,000 players in the conveyancing arena now control a record 75.6 per cent of transaction activity, with the number of firms processing fewer than 50 transactions a month falling by six per cent over the past three years.
Andy Sommerville, Search Acumen director, pointed to “the Brexit Effect” as a cause for the decline in transactions since 2016 and added that, while the larger conveyancers are coping with the situation, “the days of the small, occasional conveyancer are over”.
He said: “Big firms, however, have a physical limit to how much more market share they can gain. There’s only so many conveyancers they can hire to execute so many transactions in a month. We’re going to soon reach an inflection point where the top firms can’t grow without wholesale changes to how they do business.”
Better technology could prove crucial, he added. “Too many firms we speak to see technology as a ‘nice to have’. But it’s more than that now – technology investment is the key to getting ahead in a competitive climate.”