Latest Annual Residential Conveyancing Market Trends Report Published

29 Jul 2019

Optimism dips in the residential conveyancing market- the roller coaster continues 

The UK Conveyancing Market Trends Report 2019 provides an overview of the UK conveyancing market which is facing a period of uncertainty in the next few years.

  • In 2018 as in 2017, IRN Research estimate that the residential conveyancing market declined as the number of property transactions and the number of individuals using conveyancing services fell back compared with 2017. Price pressures, i.e. more fixed fee options, have also been impacting on market value growth. In 2018, the UK residential conveyancing market decreased in value by 2.8% on 2017.
  • The number of residential property transactions also decreased in 2018 by 2.4% compared to 2017 and this followed a decrease of over 1% in 2017. Provisional figures for the first half of 2019 point to an even larger decrease in 2019. Residential property transactions decreased by 6.6% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in the previous year. A possible solution to the Brexit confusion in Autumn could help to improve prospects in the latter part of 2019.
  • In the survey of conveyancers undertaken by IRN Research in April/May2019, 55% stated that they had seen increased work volumes in the last 12 months (a decrease from 66% in the previous year). A majority also recorded increased revenues from conveyancing but this percentage has fallen to 53% from 60% in 2018.
  • Looking forward to the next 12 months, just 55% are positive and are anticipating increased work volumes, but this is down from 62% in 2018 and 2017.
  • The market is dominated by local law firms, but a recent trend has been the emergence of more national conveyancers capitalising on what is becoming a commoditised market. However, despite handling over 20,000 transactions each year, the largest conveyancing firm in England and Wales still only accounts for just over 2% of the transaction numbers. The two largest conveyancers are now in the hands of private equity firms.
  • Between 2015 and 2018, the key changes to the residential housing market impacting on conveyancing have been: a shift from house purchase towards remortgaging (mainly because fewer current home owners are moving and hence putting their properties on the market); the growing importance of first-time buyers for home purchases; and the decline in importance of buy-to-let purchasers.
  • IRN Research estimate the number of property transactions will rise by almost 6% over 2018 to 2022. The value of the conveyancing market will grow at a lower rate over the same period as prices will continue to be under pressure.

The briefing (37pp, PDF), is available directly from IRN Research, priced at £200. UK sterling price is plus VAT so total price is £240.

See our Legal Reports page to see a Contents Page, or to order via the website or email dmort@irn research.com

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