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Conveyancing market falters as caseload drops to four-year low

Activity in the conveyancing market dropped significantly during the second quarter of the year, according to Search Acumen.

The search provider found that total conveyancing volumes were down by 14% when compared to the previous quarter.

The number of conveyancing cases between April and the end of June this year was also the lowest recorded since mid-2013.


The average monthly caseload per firm was 13% lower in Q2 than the previous quarter, falling from 59 to 51.

Low transaction volumes were accompanied by a drop in the number of active conveyancing firms. 

Search Acumen reports that the average number of firms active in the three months to June 2017 dropped 1% from 4,198 in Q1 to 4,143. 

This is the lowest figure on record since tracking began in 2011. 


Analysis shows that the top five ranked firms according to transaction volumes have been most insulated from the lull in the UK property market, while occasional conveyancers appear to be suffering the most.

“The dip in conveyancing activity should come as no surprise to those closely watching the UK property market, but it poses a significant challenge for conveyancing firms that want to survive and grow," says Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen.

“The turbulence in the UK’s political system is far from settling as we follow our Brexit path, and it is essential that the property market is safeguarded from continued uncertainty with clear and effective policy decisions."

"Last time the market was this quiet for conveyancers, we saw major interventions through Help to Buy to support first-time buyers," says Lloyd.

"The fact that second-steppers are now finding life hard suggests there is still much to do to effectively balance the UK housing market – not least addressing the shortage of homes to go round."

Yesterday, the shortlist for the inaugural ESTAS Conveyancing Awards was revealed.

  • Peter Ambrose

    This is no surprise to us - we are being approached by LOTS of solicitors looking for jobs because they have either been made redundant or fear that they will do.

    Of course, this brings out the panel managers with their crocodile smiles and drug-wraps of "lots of cases" offering to panic-stricken lawyers who succumb to their promises of a good life.

    When the going gets tough ... the turkeys vote for Christmas (to mix my metaphor)


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