Conveyancing transactions hit a post-recession high during the first quarter of 2016, according to new figures.
Search provider Search Acumen's analysis of Land Registry data shows there were 275,002 transactions registered between January and March 2016.
This volume of transactions was 10% higher than the previous Q1 record of 251,042, set in 2014.
Search Acumen says the previous record was achieved due to a surge in activity before April 2014's Mortgage Market Review (MMR), and the new record is a result of landlords and investors purchasing additional properties before the 3% stamp duty surcharge was introduced on April 1).
The firm suggests that its figures for the next quarter could remain high due to a 'time-lag' accounting for extended timelines for Land Registry applications.
The Conveyancing Market Tracker also shows that the number of transactions was 15% higher in the first quarter of this year when compared with 2015.
The report also reveals that the top five ranked conveyancing firms' market share has fallen from 8% in Q1 2014 to 5% in the first quarter of 2016.
Search Acumen says that the aggregate market share for the top five firms has now been 6% or less for each of the last five quarters due to increased competition from smaller firms.
“The artificial stimulus of government intervention has put major pressure on workloads: more than we’ve seen in the opening exchanges of any year since the recession and topping the pre-MMR rush of 2014,” says Mark Riddick, Search Acumen chairman.
“Our analysis points to another interesting trend in the market, where challenger firms have enjoyed the biggest benefits of the year-on-year rise in transactions. As conveyancers pause for breath after the stamp duty frenzy, there may be some who are left licking their wounds or feeling their business performance could have been better,” he adds.