The sluggish property market has had a lacklustre effect on property lawyers, who are now handling 25% fewer cases on average following a 21% fall in monthly property transactions year-on-year.
According to the Conveyancing Market Tracker (CMT) from property data company Search Acumen, the average property law firm handled 62 cases in Q3 2023, a 25% decrease year-on-year and a 41% decrease from its Q1 2022 peak where firms handled an average of 94 cases per quarter in the post-pandemic frenzy.
The decline reflects a fall in monthly transactions, in which latest data recorded a 21% fall year-on-year. Likewise, September 2023 recorded the fewest property market transactions in nearly three years, in line with figures seen during lockdown.
However, 62 cases per quarter is in line with pre-pandemic figures, being on par with the quarterly average from 2019 volumes, which could be an indication of a return to traditional activity levels.
Search Acumen’s analysis also shows the total number of active firms has suffered from the market slowdown, dropping below 3,900 for the first time outside of a pandemic in August 2023 and remaining below that level ever since.
This reflects a market rife with acquisitions and big winners, according to Search Acumen. The top 500 law firms are on track for a 60% market share for 2023, which would be a record high up from 51% in 2011, now handling three in five transactions.