The residential property market held steady ahead of this week’s budget with new enquiries placed via estate agent websites remaining mostly flat at levels significantly above the same week last year, with no indication the debate over whether the 31 March stamp duty holiday deadline will be extended was having any real impact, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
Vendors were the only gainers, nudging up 1% on the week, while buyers and tenants were flat and Landlords fell 5%, to reflect jitters over possible changes to capital gains tax. When compared to the same week last year just before coronavirus swept across the country, vendors were 28% higher, buyers 34% higher and tenants 49% higher, marking significant increases in activity overall.
The digital story is at the heart of the figures and traffic and engagement on own-branded estate agent websites remains at record levels, with visits 30% higher than the same week last year and 36% higher than the equivalent week in 2019. In turn the volumes of people engaging via live chat are 41% and 38% higher, respectively, and most importantly people requesting agent services via live chat are 36% higher year/year and an incredible 50% higher than 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 28 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 28 FEBRUARY 2021)
“The demand is sustained and exceptional, and whatever is thrown at it property market sentiment remains enthusiastic. A likely stamp duty holiday extension, new support for 95% LTV mortgages and a brighter coronavirus outlook are combining to ensure estate agents are going to remain very busy for some time to come,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.
“Of course, this is really fuelled by seismic shifts in consumer behaviour to engage directly online when it suits them, and the hard truth now emerging is that those agents adopting a digital first approach within their traditional service values are those which we see reaping the maximum benefits from this exceptional market,” 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 up 0.97%, or 1.41 points, to end the week on 147.34, some 47% above the average, and 28% higher than the same week last year.
Buyers were flat, falling just 0.07%, or 0.11 points, to close at 152.87, some 53% above the pre-covid-19 average and 34% above the same week 2020.
Landlords fell 4.85%, or 4.88 points, to 95.83, some 4% below the average and 4% lower than the same week last year.
Tenants steadied after last week’s surge to fall 0.32%, or 0.39 points, to close at 123.30 some 23% above the pre-covid-19 average and an incredible 49% 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 – 28 February 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 30% 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 41% and 36%, respectively, above the same week 2020.
YOMDEL ESTATE AGENT WEBSITE TRACKER (w/e 28 FEBRUARY 2021)