Rapidly declining interest from new vendors seeking estate agents coupled with ongoing exceptionally strong buyer demand is creating increased pressure in the residential sales market as new stock supply dwindles; while lettings remain mostly balanced, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
In the week to midnight Sunday, which marked one year since coronavirus lockdown restrictions were first imposed and market activity stalled, new vendors contacting estate agents dropped almost 10%, doubling down on a 14% drop the previous week. Buyers dropped 5%, landlords fell 3% and tenants were down just 1%. But the market overall remained strong overall with vendors 28% and buyers 67% above the equivalent week 2019, respectively.
Digital for estate agents shows no sign of cooling, with traffic to estate agent websites 96% higher than the same week 2020 (46% higher than 2019), generating 113% more live chats (20% up on 2019) and 134% more leads (46% up on 2019).
Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a 1.9m chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 21 March 2021. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 50 million unique website visits back to January 2019.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 21 MARCH 2021)
“Agents remain incredibly busy, but a year after lockdown began the biggest challenge is finding the vendors to meet buyer demand. We’re hearing lots of stories of aggressive fee discounting to historic lows as some agents desperately try to secure new properties. It’s at times like this that quality lead generation and then quality lead handling is of critical importance,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.
“This market widening between supply and demand looks set to continue at least as long as the Stamp Duty breaks remain in place and while properties will fly off the shelf, agents need to not only be the first and best in responding to new opportunities but they need to go over and above at every stage. Digital is at the heart here, together with delivering exceptional service,” 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 first national lockdown on 23 March 2020, 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 down 9.53%, or 14.04 points, to end the week on 133.30, some 33% above the average, 104% higher than the same week last year as lockdown was imposed, and 28% above the equivalent week 2019.
Buyers fell 4.79%, or 8.77 points, to close at 174.41, 74% above the pre-covid-19 average, 159% above the same week 2020 and 67% higher than the equivalent week 2019.
Landlords fell back 2.55%, or 2.71 points, to 103.41, some 3% above the average, 54% higher than the same week last year, and steady on levels in the same week 2019.
Tenants fell 0.84%, or 0.97 points, to close at 114.15 some 14% above the pre-covid-19 average, 106% above the same week last year, and 37% higher than the equivalent week 2019.
The following graph looks at the relationship between website visitor volumes, live chat volumes and the volume of leads generated. The data samples more than 50 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 21 March 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 96% 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) are 113% and 134%, respectively, above the same week 2020.
YOMDEL ESTATE AGENT WEBSITE TRACKER (w/e 21 MARCH 2021)