8 JULY 2020. Record numbers of people descended onto estate agent websites in the past week as more home movers than ever turned to digital channels for help to break out from under coronavirus lockdown and further fuel the surge in new business enquiries, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) shows.
For the week ending midnight 5 July, visits to estate agent websites were 37% higher than the same week last year, and 41% above average levels going back to Jan 2019. Motivated new vendor and buyer enquiries captured via live chat rose to 64% and 75%, respectively, above the pre-covid-19 average. Landlords dipped slightly to 35% above the average, and tenants remained strong at 51% above.
Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a million chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 5 July 2020. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK, and covers in excess of 32 million unique website visits back to 6 January 2019.
“These are incredible numbers. People are voting with their fingers and flooding onto estate agents’ own websites in greater numbers than ever before. They want to make initial contact and do business via digital channels. The proportion of people using live chat has soared 85% compared to last year and lead volumes have more than doubled,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder and CEO.
“The volume of new leads from own-branded websites is unprecedented and after tracking this data for 13 weeks now we can see this is no flash in the pan. Whatever the business model – high street, hybrid or online – people are seeking help and advice online first, and this is where agents need to make a great first impression if they are to win business” he added.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 5 July 2020)
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 stable at record levels with enquiries rising 1.74% to end the week 64% above the pre-covid-19 average at 164.4, up 2.81 points, placing valuation leads 62% above the same week last year.
Buyers remained strong, gaining 6.4%, or 10.52 points, to 174.82, an incredibly strong 75% above pre-covid-19 averages, and 72% above the same week last year.
Landlords cooled ever so slightly, dipping 1.58%, or 2.17 points to 135.36, but finished some 35% above the pre-covid-19 average, and 20% above the same week in 2019.
Demand from tenants rose 5.59%, or 7.79 points, to end the week at 51% above the pre-covid-a9 average at 151.16.
“Customers are clearly stating their preferences. They want to engage via digital channels, and direct requests for video and virtual viewings or valuations have also hit unprecedented volumes,” said Soloman.
“This presents a great opportunity for agents to transform their businesses, both to deliver desired new channels, but also drive increased efficiency into their operations, by for example, reducing the volume of physical viewings and reduce the time spent taking people to properties their have no intention of buying,” he added.
The following graph looks at the relationship between website visitor volumes, live chat volumes and the volume of leads generated. The data samples 32 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 5 July and shows how web traffic to estate agents’ websites (blue line) hit an all-time record at 41% above the pre-covid-19 average, and 37% above 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 85% and 114% above the pre-covid-19 average, respectively. Before coronavirus all three (visitors, live chat engagement, leads generated) tracked each other, but not anymore.