Conveyancers expect another buoyant year amid changes for the property sector, according to a market snapshot.

The conveyancer sentiment tracker, run by search provider SearchFlow, shows that 27% of conveyancers believe transaction levels will increase by up to 20% this year.

Maud Rousseau, group marketing and communications director, said the conveyancing industry was ‘very likely’ to see a rush to complete property purchases before the spring followed by a ‘sharp drop’ in transaction levels.

In November, chancellor George Osborne announced a 3% stamp duty land tax surcharge for buy-to-let landlords and people with second homes, and this is expected to hit the market when it comes into effect in April. 

However Rousseau said that the effect would be temporary. ‘If rent remains high and housing stock is still in short supply, buy-to-let will remain a profitable investment for many.’

Rousseau warned solicitors that they needed to be prepared to adapt quickly ‘if online estate agents achieve their ambition of being highly disruptive in the world of estate agency’.

A number of government plans, such as privatisation of Land Registry, could have a ‘very significant’ impact on the sector, Rousseau said.

‘There is no denying, 2016 could be the year the conveyancing industry sees the most significant change in generations,’ Rousseau said. ‘There is a sea change underway and we are in the midst of this transition.’

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