The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warned this week that the UK housing market has a tough year ahead of it. The organisation reported that the housing market has lacked impetus this year, due to Brexit uncertainty, lack of supply, affordability constraints and the possibility of interest rate increases.
The most recent Market Tracker report from Search Acumen showed a quarterly decline in transactions of 11%, from 221,782 in Q1 to 197,921 in Q2. Some areas of the South East are reporting a decline of up to 15%.
RICS are forecasting overall sales volumes to drop a further 5% next year, a continuing trend it says: ‘In the past two years sales activity has declined and annual completed transactions remain significantly below the 1.7m high in 2006.’
Amidst much market uncertainty, declining transactions and tougher competition to win new work, CA Affiliate members, Redbrick Solutions, clients seem to be bucking the trend. Analysis shows that its clients have seen a 7.9% increase in transaction volumes this calendar year, when compared like for like to last.
RICS reported that: ‘Given the obstacles in the current market it is anticipated activity will weaken further. As sales activity continues to falter, house price growth will continue to fade in the first half of the year, and is expected to come to a standstill by mid-2019.’
As conveyancing case management providers, Redbrick Solutions, are well placed to support their clients in streamlining their processes to provide an efficient and customer-focused service. Services such as quote and instruct, online document portal and Land Registry e-DRS integration ensure that clients are pro-active in winning more work and completing that work in a more profitable manner.
Redbrick Solutions easy to use conveyancing case management solution has been instrumental in seeing some clients increase their transaction levels by as much as 110% over the last couple of years. One such client is Marcus Baum, a busy conveyancing firm, based in Essex. Matthew Clark, Partner says: “It was clear to me, that to be able to drive our top line without a significant increase in the operational costs, including salaries, technology was the most sensible way of improving the overall performance of our business.”
Martin MacDuff, managing director of Redbrick Solutions, comments: “We cannot ignore the fluctuating market and anticipate it continuing for a while yet to come but firms should be acting now to streamline their processes, focusing on delivering high levels of client care and on securing new work.”
Matthew concludes: “Dealing with many hundreds of cases a month, on a cost per file basis, incremental changes in operational efficiency translate to significant savings on the volumes we handle. Redbrick’s technology has really given us the ability to operate much more efficiently than was ever the case, and as a result of that we are now more compliant and profitable than ever before.”
So, amid intense competition and an uncertain future how can firms ensure their future success?
Martin says: “The majority of the firms we see are mid-tier, busy conveyancing firms. Many of them are using significantly out-of-date technology that is having a negative impact on their profitability. Consumer surveys show time and time again that the majority of consumers are not shopping on price, but on service and recommendation. Our clients are able to demonstrate their pro-active approach by delivering a personalised quote instantly and following them up automatically, giving the consumer confidence in the firms efficient, client focused service. Once the instruction is won, there are a host of tools and integrations available to ensure our clients deliver against these expectations, resulting in more repeat business and recommendations. It’s a win-win situation.”
Making good use of technology is going to be key to firms’ ability to compete in the current market, so if you haven’t yet seen Redbrick Solutions now is the time to act.
If you would like to understand more about legal technology solutions and the benefits they could bring to your business, please contact Redbrick Solutions on 01572 770088, or visit www.redbricksolutions.co.uk