Surging interest from vendors took new sales appraisal requests for estate agents to an all-time high of 127% above pre-covid-19 levels in the past week as more and more people manoeuvred to take advantage of the government’s stamp duty holiday, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) shows.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on 8 July a temporary holiday on stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland, and this has spurred incredible levels of activity from homeowners. Buyers stabilised at record levels some 79% above the same week last year, while landlord and tenant enquiry volumes eased to allow some cooling in the over-heated lettings market.
For the week ending midnight 19 July, estate agency website traffic remained buoyant at 29% above July 2019, while the numbers of people seeking to use live chat on estate agent websites has rocketed to 75% above the pre-covid-19 average, and lead volumes overall were up 115% in the same period.
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 19 July 2020. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 33 million unique website visits back to 6 January 2019.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 19 July 2020)
“The huge rush to estate agents after Sunak’s announcement has slowed somewhat, but we’re seeing requests from vendors seeking valuations at more than double the level a year ago,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder and CEO.
“Post lockdown, pent up demand burst into the open, but the stamp duty holiday has spurred even more people into action. Our clients tell us they are valuing and listing at levels they’ve never seen. It’s happy days just now, but everyone is looking to see whether the coronavirus storm clouds on the horizon will been blown in our way,” 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 rose again to another new record high with valuation enquiries rising 6.83%, or 14.5 points to end the week 127% above the pre-covid-19 average at 226.85.
Buyers stabilised at record levels, but dipped 1.82%, or 3.47 points, on the week at 187.16, still 87% above pre-covid-19 averages.
Landlords fell 8.18% or 12.45 points, to 139.69, and finished 40% above the pre-covid-19 average, and also 44% higher than the same week in 2019.
Demand from tenants also cooled, falling 5.46% or 8.57 points, to end the week at 48% above the pre-covid-19 average at 148.43.
“Even when we see falls in these numbers the overall level of market activity is still well up in the stratosphere and it’s interesting that the situation is persisting as society becomes gradually more relaxed in what can and can’t be done,” said Soloman.
“Trends established as we went through and then started to come out of lockdown are continuing and show no sign of abating, the most important of which is that people have turned to digital channels and digital technologies in huge numbers,” 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 33 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 19 July and shows how web traffic to estate agents’ websites (blue line) is an incredible 31% 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 75% and 115% 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.