UK Conveyancing Market Report 2020 Published

30 Jun 2020

CONSOLIDATION, COVID-19, & CONCERNS FOR CONVEYANCERS IN 2020/21

Like most other legal services sector, COVID-19 has cast a long shadow over the residential conveyancing sector.

• In 2019, the number of residential property transactions decreased by 1.2% on the previous year but there were signs of some recovery towards the end of the year. The recovery was continuing in the early part of 2020 but by March 2020 numbers were falling. In the first quarter of 2020, transactions decreased by 1% on the same period in 2019 but, in April/May 2020, transactions dropped by 55% on the same period in 2019.

• While the sector is still populated by many small conveyancing firms, there are clear signs of consolidation as the larger volume players accelerate their growth through acquisitions and mergers. Despite the increased market presence of the leading players, no one brand has a significant market share yet. However, the top ten brands have increased their share of Land Registry transactions to over 8% in 2019 from around 7% in 2018.

• COVID-19 is likely to lead to more M&A activity in the sector as many firms will find it difficult to return to previous business levels and maintain cash flows even when the pandemic eases, and if there are still social distancing limits which might impact on the number and nature of physical viewings.

• IRN Research estimates that residential housing transactions will decrease by 25% in 2020, compared to 2019, and market revenue is expected to slip by double-digit levels. Market recovery is likely to start towards the middle of 2021.

• In the fifth year of IRN Research’s Practitioner Survey, optimism amongst conveyancers has dropped noticeably as participants express concerns over the impact of COVID-19 in the next 12 months. The percentage of conveyancers expecting volume growth in the next 12 months has dropped to below 50% for the first time since the survey began in 2016.

The UK Conveyancing Market Report 2020 is available directly from IRN Research, priced at £200. Contact dmort@irn-research.com or order via our Legal Reports page on this site. Report contents details on the Legal Reports page.

 

 

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