Landlords stormed back into the UK residential property market in the past week to reach their highest level since last September, while vendors and buyers recorded their first drops of 2021 as uncertainty over whether the stamp duty holiday would be extended together with a gloomy economic outlook further dented confidence in the lockdown-weary country, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
In a week that saw the UK report its worst annual GDP figures on record, landlords rose almost 8% in the week, while vendors dropped 10%, buyers dipped 1% and tenants slumped 14%. But the market remained busy overall with all key new enquiry indicators from vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants enquires all up significantly when compared to February last year, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic rolled in, YPST data for the week ending midnight 14 February showed.
Engagement with own-branded estate agency websites increased yet again to hit another all-time record, some 28% above the same week last year, and now sits at an all-time record high, some 28% higher than the same week last year and 43% higher than the corresponding week in 2019. The growth in digital adoption by estate agent customers shows no sign of slowing, and this is in turn generating record volumes of new enquiries for agents.
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 14 February 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 14 FEBRUARY 2021)
“While the market is somewhat directionless at the moment and some people may be holding off making new enquiries to estate agents, it is clear that record numbers of people are nosing around property websites. With the right stimuli, such as an extension to the stamp duty holiday beyond 31 March, there could be another explosion in demand,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.
“Landlords have been the surprise of the week, hitting the highest volume of new enquiries since the heady heights of last summer’s booming market. Tenants have fallen though, but levels are approximately where the pre-covid market would have seen them at this time of year,” 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 9.88%, or 14.26 points, to end the week on 130.03, some 30% above the average, and 12% higher than the same week last year.
Buyers dipped slightly to fall 0.81%, or 1.12 points, to close at 137.67, 38% above the pre-covid-19 average and 14% above the same week 2020.
Landlords surged to a six-month high, rising 7.76%, or 26.13 points, to 120.20, some 20% above the average and 17% higher than the same week last year.
Tenants fell 13.55%, or 16.36 points, to close at 104.41, some 4% above the pre-covid-19 average and 24% above the same week last year.
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 – 14 February 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 28% 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 21% and 17%, respectively, above the same week 2020.
YOMDEL ESTATE AGENT WEBSITE TRACKER (w/e 14 FEBRUARY 2021)