A “lack of available talent” in the conveyancing sector could lead to delays in completions of London property sales and could even curtail growth in transaction numbers.

That’s the warning from property recruitment company Venn Group, which says London’s vacancy rate for residential and commercial conveyancing jobs has risen 34 per cent between October and March. 

A rush by overseas investors to snap up London’s commercial property, coupled with reports that confidence in the housing market reached a three year high this month, has sparked a boom in demand for conveyancing locums in the capital, the group says.

The firm says the early stages of a skills shortage can be spotted now and is down to not only the boom in conveyancing demand today but also an already-limited talent pool following the housing downturn in 2008. This is a sentiment mirrored in a recent report by the Law Society Gazette which reveals that the sector is already facing a skills gap following such a long period of retrenchment during the recession. 

“Whilst law practices have increasingly used locums to plug permanent skills gaps, it is becoming more challenging to find qualified candidates” according to Jodie Finn, Venn Group’s associate director.

The group also believes that the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review next week - which will place additional demands on legal firms in terms of fulfilling banks’ anti-fraud criteria – may further exacerbate delays in the residential market. 

“Our concern is that once the MMR kicks off, firms simply won’t be able to source the required manpower which could seriously impact the growth of the capital’s property market as we progress through 2014” says Finn.