Record levels of activity sustained as property website traffic buzzes
18 AUGUST 2020. Record numbers of people visiting estate agent websites and property portals sustained feverish market activity in the past week as the surge in new enquiries for estate agency services via live chat continued to roll in, the latest date from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
The sales market remained extremely active with demand from vendors in the week ending midnight on 16 August 93% higher than the same week a year earlier, and 78% higher year-on-year for buyers. Landlords and tenants both paused for breath in the week, with landlords up 10% on the same week last year and tenants recording an 11% drop, possibly reflecting uncertainty from students in the face of exam results controversy and coronavirus.
Activity in the residential property market began to soar as Covid-19 lockdown measures began to be eased in May, and has now settled at elevated levels fuelling a mini-boom in property prices.
Estate agency website traffic rose 10% to 34% above the 62-week pre-covid-19 average, and the numbers of people using live chat on estate agent websites was 67% above the pre-covid-19 average, with lead volumes up overall by 97%, reinforcing indications that substantial shifts in consumer behaviour requiring instant human support online are now here to stay.
Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a 1.5m chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 16 August 2020. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 36 million unique website visits back to January 2019.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 16 August 2020)
“Landlords seem to have filled their boots for the time being, but with solid news supporting rises in house prices more and more people are looking at the possibility of moving. We don’t know how long this boom will sustain, but with August as a traditional harvest month it looks like record crop yields for the best estate agents,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder and CEO.
“But the message to all remains unchanged. Your customers are online and if you are able to offer them exceptional service the first time they visit, they are more likely to stick around. You only have one opportunity to make a great first impression,” 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 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 dipped by 1.45%, or 2.81 points, to end the week on 190.83, still running at levels almost double the pre-covid-19 62-week average.
Buyers dropped 3.41%, or 6.12 points, to close at 173.29, some 73% above pre-covid-19 average.
Landlords fell back 15.85%, or 22.74 points, to finish at 120.74, still 21% above the average.
Demand from tenants fell back 12.25%, or 18.51 points, to close at 132.65, some 33% above the pre-covid-19 average.
“There are ups and downs here, but make no mistake, new enquiry volumes have now sustained for four months at levels we have never seen before. To still have vendors 91% above the average is simply remarkable,” said Soloman.
The following graph looks at the relationship between website visitor volumes, live chat volumes and the volume of leads generated. The data samples over 36 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 16 August and shows how web traffic to estate agents’ websites (blue line) is an incredible 29% 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) have increased exponentially, with live chat adoption and leads generated 67% and 97% above the pre-covid-19 62-week average, respectively. Before coronavirus all three (visitors, live chat engagement, leads generated) tracked each other, but not anymore.