Conveyancing volumes rise 105% in Q3

Conveyancing volumes saw a 105% increase in the third quarter of the year as the conveyancing market “regained its footing”, according to Search Acumen.

The latest Conveyancing Market Tracker from the property data insight and technology provider showed that volumes climbed to 169,143 registered transactions in Q3 2020, a figure up from 82,385 in Q2 2020.  

July was the busiest month in Q3 with 61,587 transactions completed, and Search Acumen said the surge could largely be attributed to the reopening of the housing market following the spring lockdown, with the government’s stamp duty announcement also “likely” to have driven higher transaction volumes.

Q3 also saw a return of consumer confidence as lockdown measures eased, the property data expert added, which in turn helped to “unlock latent demand” that was put on hold in Q2.

In response to the spike in business volumes, the number of active conveyancing firms in the market jumped 56% during Q3, rising to 3,751, up from 2,411 in Q2. However, Search Acumen highlighted that this remained the second lowest number on record, with 177 fewer firms active than in Q1 2020 (3,928).

Search Acumen director, Andy Sommerville, said the Q3 figures demonstrate a recovery from the “full force” of the pandemic’s impact in Q2, but warned it is no time for the market to “drop its defences” just yet.

“While the government’s stamp duty holiday is helping to propel activity into Q4, it has not relieved conveyancers of the pressures they faced in Q2, but has instead presented a different set of challenges for them to navigate,” Sommerville said.

“It is time the government acted decisively by tackling recurring delays in the property market through proper investment and an acceleration of its digitisation programme. While this won’t be resolved by 31 March 2021, an industry wide change in mindset is required now – not to mention a new approach to leveraging the available technology to harness the data at our fingertips.

“We saw evidence of an increase in firms adopting digital practices as a result of the pandemic. What’s needed now is firm commitment by all parties to collaborate, adopt the right technologies and build a more efficient property market. Only then will we be able to identify risks upfront, reduce uncertainty and progress transactions more effectively in the long-term.”

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