More than 100,000 property transactions have benefitted from access to digitised local land charges (LLCs) data.
Conveyancing software provider Search Acumen has assessed how the digitisation of local land charges records by 40 councils so far has benefited the property market since 2018.
With adoption gathering pace over the last 12 months, Search Acumen’s analysis of property market data from the Land Registry indicates that the number of property buyers and their conveyancers benefitting from instant, 24/7 access to this essential information has now reached six figures, surpassing 107,000.
Its findings show that Northern regions are setting the pace of change when it comes to delivering transactions using digitised LLCs.
While the north west, north east and Yorkshire and Humberside account for just 23% of local authorities who have completed their digital switchover, they have delivered more than two in five (43%) of digitised transactions so far.
This is helped by the fact that Northern regions were home to 50% of the early adopters in 2018, when Liverpool and Blackpool were among the first four local authorities to digitise their local land charges.
Since then, Liverpool alone has since seen more than 27,000 property transactions use the digital register to make faster assessments of any restrictions that might impact the buying and selling process.
In terms of regional activity, the north west of England has completed the most property transactions using digitised LLC records at more than 42,600, followed by more than 17,300 in the west Midlands.
The Land Registry is currently targeting 2025 to implement a fully digital LLC service, encompassing all records across England and Wales.
It is also working with property lawyers to complete a 12-month transition to switch to digital processing of AP1 applications - the form used to register changes to a legal title.
From November 2022, all AP1 submissions must be submitted digitally.
Andrew Lloyd, managing director at Search Acumen, said: “It’s very easy at the start of any digital transition to feel as though there’s a mountain to climb, but our analysis shows that thousands of property buyers and their legal advisers are already enjoying the benefit of efforts of having instant access to digitised records of vital information that can make or break the progress of a transaction.
“It’s inconceivable and intolerable that, in this day and age, buyers should have to pay legal professional to wade through time-consuming manual processes to discover planning conditions, highways agreements, and environmental health notices.
“No-one benefits from antiquated ways of working, and we fully support efforts to accelerate the adoption of digital LLCs across England and Wales.
“With an even tighter deadline to reach on digitisation of AP1 applications, there is growing momentum behind the practical application of technology to transform the transaction process.
“It’s vital that conveyancers don’t delay in engaging with change: procrastination is the enemy of progress when it comes to proptech, and those firms who move first can start to bank the benefits of quicker, simpler and more accurate processes to deliver a service to clients that is fit for the 21st century.”