Latest Land Registry data suggests the conveyancing market is bouncing back, with middle-ranking firms emerging as the biggest winners according to new figures published today.
Search company Search Acumen's latest market tracker shows that firms processed 254,606 transaction between July and September this year - 21% more than the four-year low recorded between April and June (210,964).
The number of 'challenger' firms - those registering between 100 and 500 transactions a month - rose from 79 to 122. Firms ranked between 21st and 50th by transaction volume experienced a 26.7% increase in transactions, from 501 between April and June to 635 between July and September. Activity levels for the top five firms grew by only 16%.
Andrew Lloyd, Search Acumen managing director, said was encouraged by the activity 'uptick' during the summer following the dip earlier in the year. However, 'business as usual' is not good sufficient in the current environment, he warned.
'We remain in the greatest housing crisis our country has known and it is up to the government to deliver the antidote against the most challenging economic backdrop we have seen since the recession. It is unlikely that there will be a silver bullet solution, but now is the time to grab the issue by the collar and find ways to start building in greater volumes soon rather than later.'
Yesterday, Philip Hammond, chancellor of the exchequer, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the government must 'sustainably' deliver around 300,000 homes a year 'to start to make inroads' on housing affordability. Citing 270,000 residential planning permissions in London that have not been built on, Hammond said the government is 'determined to get those missing homes built'.
Stamp duty land tax may also be in the chancellor's sights in Wednesday's budget. Hammond would not be drawn on tax measures but acknowledged the government 'must do more' to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder.