Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker – Trends level off as consumers pause and market consolidates
First indications of cooling demand in face of restricted market
Landlords lose recent gains, vendors dip, while buyers and tenants maintain level
10 MAY, 2020. Continued coronavirus restrictions in property market activity hit sentiment in the past week with consumers pausing for breath after driving weeks of stellar growth in new home moving enquiries captured via live chat on estate agent websites, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) shows.
For the week ending midnight 10 May, new enquiry volumes from landlords were hardest hit, dropping by 17 points to lose gains made the previous week, while vendor lead volumes also dipped. Buyers marked a modest gains and tenants were flat, although staying at an all-time high, Yomdel, the leading provider of live chat for estate agents said.
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 going back to January 2019, up until week ending 10 May 2020.
“It’s only natural that the incredible growth in recent weeks should slow. Time will tell whether this plateauing is simply a pause, or perhaps reflecting frustration that agents are simply not able to help many people, or people are waiting for greater clarity from the government on how or when the lockdown will ease,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder and CEO.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 10th May 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.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday announced initial tentative easing of lockdown restrictions, comments that had been anticipated for several days, and in line with other political declarations enquiry volumes slowed as people waited. But estate agency was excluded from new guidance and it remained unclear how any changes would affect people wishing to move home.
Despite ongoing restrictions, Yomdel has tracked steeply increasing volumes of new enquiries from people, especially tenants, desperate to move, or from people hoping to get their lives back on track.
Further research shows volumes of visitors to estate agent websites remain strongly down on pre-COVID-19 levels, but engagement rates via live chat have grown exponentially meaning estate agents have actually seen lead volumes increase.
“We’ve seen agent website visitor numbers decline by 30%-50%, but the proportion of people using live chat on these websites has doubled or even tripled,” said Soloman.
“The result is an actual net increase in lead volumes for agents as the tyre-kickers have gone and the motivated customers remain. We expect this trend of ‘more from less’ to continue,” he added.
New vendor enquiries dipped for the first time since lockdown began on 23rd March by 2.2% or 1.87 points to 83.26, and while still down on the pre-COVID-19 average, they are up 141% from the low when the lockdown first hit.
Previous booming buyer demand slowed to a trickle, finishing the week 2.34 points, or 1.86%, up at 127.97. This some 28% above the pre-lockdown average and nudges them closer to the 2020 high of 135.63 reached on 26 January.
Landlords recovery stalled and they lost gains made in the previous week finishing down 19.49 points, or 17. 31%, at 93.13, back again below the pre-COVID-19 average.
Incredible growth seen in tenant enquiries halted, with a small rise of 1.17 points, or 0.6%, to 194.99. Tenant demand remains at almost double the pre-lockdown 62-week average and an incredible 251% above their lockdown low.
“It seems a little bit of caution has returned, but make no mistake, in the face of a constipated market, demand from estate agent customers remains incredibly buoyant. Any agents worried about the future need to be engaging with and supporting these people now when they need most help in anticipation of blockages eventually clearing,” said Soloman.