The survey showed that firms as a whole dealt with an average of 14% fewer transactions, while the number active in the market fell by a further 2% to 4,177.
The Conveyancing Market Tracker survey by Search Acumen, based on data from the Land Registry, found that the continuing decline in firm numbers was based on a “long-term trend of firms disappearing at the lower end of the market”.
Of the 153 firms which ceased to be active, 129 averaged no more than 10 transactions a month. This compares with an average of 57 a month for firms as a whole.
The top five firms carried out just over 3,000 transactions each during the first quarter of 2015 – down from 4,750. However, an average top five firm was still carrying out 62% more transactions than it did two years ago.
The larger group of the top 200 conveyancing firms took a 36% share of the market last year, compared to 26% in 2007.
Researchers said that the total number of conveyancing transactions in the first quarter, 238,668, was 16% lower than the previous quarter.
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