5 September, 2014
CLC-regulated conveyancing firms out-performed the market during the downturn
This graph shows the total number of sales recorded by the Land Registry each August from 2006 to 2013
We’ve chosen August because it is consistently the month that sees the highest number of recorded sales and I assume this is linked to a slight lag registering June/July sales.
So you can see from the chart that in 2008 sales fell to about one third of their 2007 numbers and by August 2013 they had only recovered to about two thirds of their peak.
Now we’ve all been dealing with the fall out from that. Many firms adjusted their staffing levels to remain profitable and are now staffing up again.
And of course we’ve seen some high profile failures in the legal sector and we cannot be sure there are not more to come even though the economy is recovering.
But CLC-regulated firms have seen a more stable picture as the next graph shows.
These two lines cover the same period as the last one.
Well the top line (red) is the number of CLC-regulated practices from 2006-2013. Hovering around 200 – falling in 2008 but recovering in 2010 and remaining above 200 since then.
The blue line is more jagged but still smooth compared to what happened to sales numbers over the same period. It shows the aggregate annual turnover of CLC-regulated practices
Over the last 10 years the total turnover of CLC practices has doubled whilst the number of practices has remained largely static.
Remember the total number of transactions as reported by Land Registry had still not returned to pre 2008 level by August 2013.
This shows that CLC-regulated practices are clearly carving out a bigger share of the conveyancing market and that the larger practices are increasingly dominant in terms of market share.
That growth has contributed to firms finding it difficult to recruit sufficient qualified conveyancers.
To help increase the pipeline of qualified individuals, the CLC has been promoting its qualification heavily for the last year or so and has seen a 15% increase in student numbers. We have also developed an apprenticeship in conveyancing as part of a government scheme. This will help employers train their own conveyancers.