The number of active conveyancing firms has fallen by 3% over the past year despite strong growth in the market, latest figures from a regular survey reveal. 

According to the Conveyancing Market Tracker published by searches company Search Acumen, the number of active firms rose very slighty in the second quarter of 2015, with 30 more registering transactions than in the first quarter. Year-on-year, however, firm numbers fell from 4,305 to 4,176. The number has declined by 11% over the past four years, the report notes, with 534 firms either merging or leaving the market. 

Overall, the figures show a buoyant market, with activity in the second quarter up 5% on the same period in 2014. The top five firms achieved growth of 10% over the year. The three months to June was the busiest second quarter on record since the recession, with 230,430 transactions, up from 219,613 in the same period last year. 

Mark Riddick, chairman of Search Acumen, predicted that conveyancers can look forward to a buoyant second half of the year despite the looming threat of interest rate rises. 'There is still evidence of pent-up demand,' he said, with estate agents claiming 10 buyers for every house on the UK market. 

However he predicted that many firms would miss out on the boom. 'Unless conveyancers have the processes to make best use of their assets and cope with an influx of customers, they will struggle to make the most of opprtunities for growth.'

The Conveyancing Market Tracker analyses business activitiy among firms holding Land Registry client accounts.