Conveyancers are handling 55% more property transactions a year than they were in 2012, according to sector research on productivity levels.
Search company Search Acumen’s first productivity index shows that the average number of completed transactions per conveyancer rose from 71 in 2012 to 110 last year.
The figures equate to conveyancers completing one transaction every 2.4 working days in 2015, compared with one transaction every 3.5 days in 2012.
However, despite the leap in productivity levels, Search Acumen says the data suggests productivity growth slowed significantly following the Financial Conduct Authority’s mortgage market review in April 2014.
The index states that the biggest surge in conveyancers’ workload was between 2013 and 2014, when productivity jumped from 85 transactions a year per conveyancer to 109.
Between 2012 and 2015, there was a 7% decrease in the number of conveyancers. The biggest decrease happened between 2012 and 2013. However, over the same three-year period, the combined total of purchase and sales transactions increased by 44%.
Search Acumen director Andrew Lloyd said: ‘Conveyancers have achieved something truly spectacular in terms of productivity. An average increase of 11 transactions per person each year is a result that most other UK industries, especially those in the services sector, will envy.
‘However, many conveyancers are undoubtedly feeling the pressure of the extra workload and many firms have been working flat out to handle the rising number of transactions we have seen since 2012.’
In less positive news, the Solicitors Regulation Authority revealed that email hacks of conveyancing transactions are the most common cybercrime in the legal sector, with £7m worth of client losses reported in the last year.
Three-quarters of cybercrimes reported to the regulator in the last 12 months have been some form of ‘Friday afternoon’ fraud.
SRA chief executive Paul Phillip said: ‘It is the job of [law] firms to take steps to protect themselves and their clients’ money. That means training staff and staying vigilant, as well as maintaining up-to-date technology protections.’
Phillip recommended that people avoid sharing bank details over email, or transferring money before confirming the source of any request.