A fresh burst of enquiries from vendors coupled with all-time record volumes of people on own-branded estate agent websites drove sentiment over the past week to defy demand/supply imbalances and uncertainty over a possible stamp duty holiday extension, to suggest ongoing strong consumer confidence in the market, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
Vendor enquires rose again, this time by almost 7%, to end the week 21% higher than the same week last year and complete six straight weeks of increasing demand since Christmas. New vendor enquiries have now surged 226% since 27 December. Buyers dipped slightly, landlords were flat, and tenants slightly up, as the market settled at overall levels well above the pre-Covid first week of February 2020, YPST data for the week ending midnight 7 February showed.
Engagement with own-branded estate agency websites increased again last week, and now sits at an all-time record high, some 22% higher than the same week last year and 32% higher than the corresponding week in 2019. Since lockdown began last year, consumer have flocked to digital channels where they are also engaging in record numbers, as evidenced by the volumes choosing live chat as the primary communication channel.
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 7 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 7 FEBRUARY 2021)
“It is now an incontrovertible fact that estate agent websites are busier than ever before, and people are more motivated than ever before to engage directly via live chat, and make initial enquiries via this channel. Coronavirus has changed consumer behaviour forever, and we clearly see that those agents investing in digital and virtual channels and tools are the agents having the greatest success,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.
“It’s also heartening that with all the uncertainty and no immediate end in sight to Covid, there is still significant new demand in the market. Growth in new vendor opportunities together with a slight slowing of buyers does also mean that demand/supply imbalances in some areas and segments have a chance to even out a little,” 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 again by 6.75%, or 9.12 points, to end the week on 144.29, some 44% above the average, and 21% higher than the same week last year.
Buyers dipped slightly after strong rises last week, to fall 2.37%, or 3.33 points, to close at 138.79, 38% above the pre-covid-19 average and 14% above the same week 2020.
Landlords stalled and remained flat at 111.54 points, 11% above the average and on a par with demand in the same week last year.
Tenants rose 2.99%, or 3.51 points, to close at 120.77, some 21% above the pre-covid-19 average and a full 29% 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 – 7 February 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 22% 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 26% and 26%, respectively, above the same week 2020.
YOMDEL ESTATE AGENT WEBSITE TRACKER (w/e 7 FEBRUARY 2021)