The Busiest Year on Record for Conveyancing

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Busiest Year on Record for Conveyancing
LPC & LLM Ume-Kulsoom Anwar
Legally reviewed by: LPC & LLM Ume-Kulsoom Anwar In: Conveyancing

Data Shows 2021/2022 is the Busiest Year for Conveyancing

According to data provided by Insight Provider, Search Acumen, 2021 /2022 is proving to be the busiest on record for conveyancing, with transactions increasing on average by 60%.

Since Covid-19 restrictions have lifted the industry has been playing catch up. Solicitors are working to get through the high volumes of backlogged transactions and high registration volumes. These contributed to a total of 1.2m completed transactions that were processed by the Land Registry during the past financial year.

The tracker monitors business activity and competitive pressures in the conveyancing market. Research conducted by them shows the annual total was up 87% from the previous financial year. This means the current financial year has had 1,262,954.99 transactions compared to the previous year’s 675,377. The pandemic will have been a partial cause of the decrease in transactions for the previous year. However, this year’s figures are also a 34% increase compared with the 2019/2020 financial year before the pandemic.

Search Acumen’s analysis shows the surge in conveyancing activity brought more firms back into the conveyancing market. An average of 4,058 firms were active each quarter during 2021/2022. In comparison, the active firms were 3,483 in year one of the pandemic during 2020/21.

Firms are handling 60% more transactions than the previous year. Data shows there were 32% more transactions in the past year compared to 2019/2020. As a result, conveyancing is facing its busiest financial year on record.

On average, each firm received 311 transactions for the 2021/2022 financial year beating the previous record set in 2015/2016 for 252.

Why has Conveyancing Demand Increased?

This is not the first time the demand for conveyancing has increased. In 2015/2016, the introduction of a higher stamp duty land tax rate for landlords and second-home buyers in England and Wales, caused a rush of transactions to beat the Manch 2016 deadline.

In the case of this year, the effort to clear the Covid-19 backlog and keep pace with the increasing buyer demand has meant the average conveyancing firm registered more than one completed transaction per day throughout the year. This equates to 311 transactions compared to the 255 working days (1.22 transactions per day.)

The pace of activity in the past year is more than twice what was seen during 2011/2012 when the housing and mortgage markets struggled to recover from the 2007/2008 financial crash. The average firm conveyancing completed just 135 transactions at the rate of 0.53 per day.

What’s The Result Of An Increase In Conveyancing Transactions?

The increase in transactions has serves as a reverse of the trend of declining participation in the conveyancing market. Research by  Search Acumen shows that 2021/2022 ended a nine-year sequence where the average number of active firms per quarter fell each year.

While participation fell the most during the pandemic due to the pandemic haltering transactional activity and shutting the housing market, activity has more than bounced back. The number of active firms (4,068) is making its way back to levels last seen in 2018/2019 (4,083).

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