More than two decades after the concept of ‘e-conveyancing’ was first introduced, a collaborative effort has been established to finally make it a reality. The Digital Property Market Steering Group (DPMSG), comprising legal professional bodies, government agencies, and property businesses, aims to streamline and accelerate the home buying and selling process through digital technology adoption.

Although all-digital conveyancing has been legally permissible since the Land Registration Act of 2002, previous attempts, such as HM Land Registry’s ‘chain matrix’ and the Law Society’s Veyo scheme, faced significant challenges and failed to gain traction. Recognising the complexity of modernising the process, the DPMSG seeks to overcome these hurdles through collaboration and innovation across the property sector.

The founding members of the group include the Law Society, Conveyancing Association, Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Building Societies Association, UK Finance, and HM Land Registry.

Lubna Shuja, the Law Society president, emphasised the commitment to improve the home-buying experience for consumers and all stakeholders involved in conveyancing. The goal is to streamline processes, particularly by involving sellers’ solicitors early in the process, which can reduce delays caused by chains of transactions.

Nicky Heathcote, Non-Executive Chair at the Conveyancing Association, said: “At the CA, we want to boost confidence and investment in the digitisation of the property market by demonstrating how Government and industry regulators, professional and trade bodies are aligned and committed to working together to enable and accelerate positive change”

The DPMSG aims to leverage digitisation to transform key aspects such as identity verification, digital deeds, registration, and providing crucial information to consumers at the early stages of the transaction. It recognises that achieving this transformation requires collective efforts from regulators, professional bodies, trade organisations, and the government.

There are four DPMSG working groups that will focus on:

– Public commitment: Joint conference on Digital Property Market in 2023.

– Removing barriers and empower members to drive change: Upfront information.

– Research and Development: Embracing digital identity.

– Increasing transparency: Advocating for data initiatives – exploring interoperability.

The initiative will kick off with a launch event scheduled for 12 September, bringing together stakeholders to work towards a more efficient, transparent, and consumer-friendly property market through the adoption of digital technology.

Around 300 invited guests will attend from across the property market sectors including estate agents, surveyors, conveyancers, financial, software providers, data providers, panel managers, Proptech and other groups key to driving change. HM Land Registry, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Geospatial Commission officials will also attend. Those participating will share insights on social media using #DigitalPropertyMarket.