The long-awaited relaxation of coronavirus restrictions and the reopening of hospitality and other businesses saw new enquiries to UK residential estate agents slow in the past week, with buyers dropping fastest to help redress significant supply imbalances and landlords bucking the trend to claw back more the half of the losses sustained the previous week, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
With market activity still at extraordinarily elevated levels, the impending initial stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of June appeared to be putting a damper on activity, with buyers dropping 11%, while the reopening indoors of pubs, clubs and restaurants for the first time this year seemed to be more attractive than visiting estate agent websites.
But the picture online also remained buoyant, with visitors to own-branded estate agent websites dipping slightly but remaining a very strong 39% above the pre-Covid 62-week average totals. The numbers of people using live chat and converting to new business opportunities were some 27% and 35%, respectively, above the average.
Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a 2m chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 23 May 2021. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 53 million unique website visits back to January 2019.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 23 MAY 2021)
“For many people it’s probably been a simple choice – go and have a pint with their mates, or visit an estate agent website. It’s hardly surprising which way they went after on long being locked down. But we also cannot discount the impact of the impending reduction in the stamp duty relief at the end of June and it’s inevitable that this will dampen some buyer enthusiasm,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.
“This may herald some relief for hard-pressed agents grappling with stock shortages, but while the market remains buzzing, there are strong indications that activity levels will continue to cool meaning finding ways to build the future pipeline is going to take up more and more attention,” 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 fell 4.64%, or 6.08 points, to end the week on 124.88, some 25% above the average, 8% below the same week last year at the beginning of the initial lockdown, and 29% above the equivalent week 2019.
Buyers slumped 11.12%, or 17.75 points, to close at 141.96, 42% above the pre-covid-19 average, 32% below the same week 2020 and 42% higher than the equivalent week 2019 before coronavirus hit.
Landlords recovered 13.92%, or 11.91 points, to 97.46, some 3% below the average, 37% lower than the same week last year, and 2% lower than the same week 2019.
Tenants dropped 2.90%, or 3.7 points, to close at 125.45 some 25% above the pre-covid-19 average, 48% lower than the same week last year, and 30% 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 53 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 23 May 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 40% 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 27% and 35%, respectively, above the pre-Covid 62-week average.
YOMDEL ESTATE AGENT WEBSITE TRACKER (w/e 16 MAY 2021)