Conveyancers are generally upbeat, though pressure on fees, demanding clients and cyber fraud all present urgent challenges.
It’s not seen as glamorous,’ Farrer & Co partner Laura Conduit admits as she reflects on the standing of solicitors who do residential conveyancing. ‘I don’t know why, because I love my job. I don’t really understand why somebody would think that dealing with divorce and misery all day would be more glamorous than dealing with giving people the keys to their next amazing house!
‘Having said that,’ she adds – to the general agreement of other solicitors present at the Gazette’s latest roundtable – ‘I fell into it, and I suspect if we went round the table, not everyone here would say, “Oh, yes, aged 16 I definitely wanted to be [a residential conveyancer]”.’
Most attendees report a market that has endured a volatile year, but in which business is currently holding up well. Press reports of a sharp slowdown in transactions do not tell the whole story, clearly. It is a mixed picture.
Philip Giles, principal of Essex firm Giles Wilson, says: ‘It’s very, very strong at the moment. Just about every conveyancer we come across in our locality is flat out – in fact, [they] have got too much work on. Prices are still going up. There’s talk of the market slowing, but actually we haven’t seen evidence of that yet.’
That includes a healthy pipeline of potential work: ‘[Looking at] the number of enquiries we get each month, it’s as strong as it was a few months ago, including through the summer.’