The mini-boom for UK property saw sustained intense activity on estate agent websites for the fourth consecutive month, with website user numbers 36% higher than the same week last year, and new vendor and buyer enquiries sustaining at levels never previously seen, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
New sales enquiries from vendors and buyers in the week ending midnight on 23 August were 97% and 72%, respectively, above the 62-week pre-covid-19 average, with qualified new vendor leads an astonishing 111% above the same week a year earlier. Buyers were not to be outdone and kept pace to end the week 81% above late August 2019.
Activity in the residential property market, which initially stalled when covid-19 lockdown hit, rapidly recovered as restrictions on estate agent activity were eased and a stamp duty holiday was announced in May, and is now hitting new records with each passing week.
Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a 1.5m chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 23 August 2020. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 37 million unique website visits back to January 2019.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 23 August 2020)
“When looking at the crazy levels of activity you can only say astonishing so many times before it becomes boring, but I’ll say it just once more: ‘Astonishing’. We have the perfect storm of good intent here, with people swarming across estate agent websites, they are motivated and they want good agents to help them, but there are some real challenges,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.
“Perversely, agents are telling us they can’t cope with the volumes of new business leads and are struggling to give the right attention to the right people at the right times. It’s crazy right now. We’ve even heard stories of vendors being told by agents they’ll have to wait three weeks to get a market appraisal. That is absolute nuts as it is giving business away,” he added.
The YPST methodology establishes a base line average shown as 100% or 100, calculated according to average engagement values over the 62 weeks prior to the lockdown, and plots movements from there according to the volumes of people engaging in live chat, their stated needs, questions asked, and new business leads generated. Data is measured over full 24-hour periods.
New vendors were up 3.19%, or 6.08 points, to end the week on 196.91, and running at a level 97% above the pre-covid-19 62-week average.
Buyers dipped 0.89%, or 1.54 points, to close at 171.75, some 72% above pre-covid-19 average.
Landlords gained 1.78%, or 2.17 points, to finish at 122.91, around 23% above the average.
Demand from tenants grew 3.67%, or 4.87 points, to close at 137.52, some 38% above the pre-covid-19 average.
“The key for estate agents here is ensuring their digital experience is optimised. People are flocking to websites and seeking answers to common questions, and the data now shows people are 10x more likely to use live chat than make a telephone call,” Soloman said. “It really is a case of ignore at your peril.”
The following graph looks at the relationship between website visitor volumes, live chat volumes and the volume of leads generated. The data samples over 37 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 23 August and shows how web traffic to estate agents’ websites (blue line) is an incredible 36% higher than the same week last year. The volume of people using live chat (red line) and the numbers of new business leads captured (purple line) have increased exponentially, with live chat adoption and leads generated 71% and 93% above the pre-covid-19 62-week average, respectively. Before coronavirus all three (visitors, live chat engagement, leads generated) tracked each other, but not anymore.