The number of conveyancing transactions fell 16% between the final quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015.
Search Acumen’s Conveyancing Market Tracker, which analyses data from the Land Registry, also reports a 5% transaction decrease in Q1 2015, compared to the same period last year.
Despite the recent drop, longer term comparisons of overall business volumes remain positive, with the total number of conveyancing transactions 36% higher than in 2013.
The typical conveyancing firm has seen total first quarter activity grow by 43% since 2013 and by 57% since 2012.
Search Acumen’s Tracker suggests that the bigger firms felt the greatest impact of the recent slowdown as average quarterly transactions among the top 1,000 conveyancers decreased.
The drop-off was even greater among the top five, whose average number of transactions fell 36% from the end of 2014.
As a result, the top five firms saw their collective market share reduced to 6%.
“The fact that larger conveyancing firms have been impacted most by the slow start to 2015 is a clear sign that no-one is immune to competitive pressures in a temperamental housing market,” says Mark Riddick, chairman of Search Acumen.
“Conveyancers can take some comfort from the fact that the average firm is still clocking up more transactions than they were two or three years ago.”
He adds that low mortgage pricing, negative inflation and improving employment prospects will all help to boost housing market activity during the remainder of the year.