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Australian conveyancing industry surges late after four-month low in 2022

  • Written by Mitchell Burge

The Australian conveyancing industry saw a late year resurgence after experiencing four consecutive slow months caused by interest rate rises and change in buyers’ behaviour.

Australian information broker and leading conveyancing technology solution provider, triSearch, released its 2022 aggregated property search data, indicating the direct impact of this year’s events on the industry.

triSearch National Sales Manager, Mitchell Burge, said the four-month lull experienced in the conveyancing industry from June to September presented a silver lining for practitioners.

“While we saw that sharp drop in search orders mid-year, we know how resilient and resourceful the conveyancing industry is,” Burge said.

“As with any industry governed by external factors, the quiet period gave practitioners the opportunity to improve the efficiency of their workflows and introduce digital solutions to replace their paper-based predecessors. Our Practice Management Solution, triConvey, saw record uptake in this time.”

Property search orders are a range of mandatory and optional documents a conveyancer, property lawyer, or solicitor needs to request from Local Government and land registrar organisations to construct the property contract and complete the purchase and sale of land.

As an information broker, triSearch supplies a platform for more than 1400 conveyancing practices to order property searches from Australian councils and land registries providing a direct insight to the trends of the property and conveyancing industry.

According to the orders placed by practitioners, the Australian conveyancing industry started 2022 in the same trend from the pandemic’s property market boom, with 88,000 orders placed in February.

The high volume continued through the following two months with 85,000 ordered in March, and 82,000 ordered in April.

The early year surge lasted just one more month as the buyers’ market frenzied in panic mode at the prospect of the first interest rate hike that saw a year-high orders placed in May at 90,000, respectively.

While May was the highest ordering month for the industry, it was also the turning point with the Reserve Bank of Australia officially announcing it was raising the cash rate by 25 basis points from 0.10 per cent to 0.35 per cent, on May 3. And would continue to do so each month for the remainder of the year.

Market Response to Cash Rate Hikes

Australian conveyancers saw a shift in purchaser trends in reaction to the hikes, from a deep seeded FOMO (fear of missing out) it had seen for the previous three years, to a conservative and methodical buyer that would translate to a drop of 11,000 orders placed in June, reaching 79,000.

This new trend would continue for the next three months with the June to September period not breaking 80,000 orders once.

Burge added that the change in buyers’ behaviour also changed the type of property searches ordered by triSearch clients.

“During this downturn of the market, we saw buyers taking their time to choose the property that fit their budget and lifestyle requirements,” he said.

“While search volume was low, it was a good indication that the industry was still thriving in quality property transactions, with conveyancers undertaking more optional due diligence, like building and pest report searches for properties on request of their clients.”

Fortunately, the conveyancing industry saw a large swing back in the positive direction, with October search results tying the record high for the year (90,000) experienced back in May. Following it up with another strong month in November at 81,000, respectively.

Burge said this is promising scenes for the industry leading into the new year.

“January will always be the industry’s slowest month of the year, with the majority of practices closing throughout Australia over the holiday period,” he said.

“Fortunately, the swing of search results from October has shown that practices are experiencing a growing movement of buyers’ interest in the market.

“This typically translates into early February and March success which Australian conveyancers can look forward to.”

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