Conveyancing volumes shrunk by 12 per cent last year, the first annual drop in workloads since 2011 - and the struggling housing market is being blamed.
The workloads dropped in total from 1,077,959 in 2016 to 952,966 in 2017.
The data comes from property data company Search Acumen, which says that even so the number of active firms in the market remained steady in 2017.
The top 1,000 firms held 72 per cent of the market; the top five companies have a six per cent market share
Search Acumen – which uses HM Land Registry data - says the average firm completed 171 transactions in 2017, down 11 per cent on 2016 when the total sat at 193 per active firm.
This figure has dropped one per cent since 2007, when conveyancing firms averaged 173 cases per year.
“At the beginning of the year, the Prime Minister vowed that UK housing was to be an area of absolute focus for the current government, and policies like the abolishment of stamp duty for first-time buyers will undoubtedly reduce the chasm between young market hopefuls and established homeowners. However, housebuilding activity fell last month for the first time since the EU referendum. The property industry continues to be frustrated with the inertia it finds itself in, fuelled by bureaucracy, politicking and set-backs” says Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen.