Uncertainty over whether the government will extend the stamp duty holiday beyond March, together with a likely further tightening of coronavirus lockdown restrictions acted as brakes on the property market, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.
While the 9% week-on-week growth in new vendor enquiries would be welcomed by those concerned at possible buyer/seller imbalance in the market, buyer (-1%), landlord (-10%) and tenant (-6%) enquiries all steadied or dropped as agents and consumers alike sought reassurance over what will be happening next during this extraordinary pandemic period.
With sales completions at record levels, progression log jams also continue to act as a brake, with delays adding further uncertainy, YPST data for the week ending midnight 24 January showed.
Engagement via digital channels on own-branded estate agency websites remained at extremely high levels with online traffic 26% higher than the same week 2020, while the number of people engaging in real-time live chat online was 26% higher, and the number of leads being generated some 18% higher.
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 24 January 2021. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 48 million unique website visits back to January 2019.
YOMDEL PROPERTY SENTIMENT TRACKER (w/e 24 JANUARY 2021)
“The market is a little directionless at the moment, and if you’re trying to predict trends at the moment you’ll likely have as much success as you would herding cats. Agents and Joe Public alike both need clear guidance from the government on what the future may hold,” said Yomdel Founder & CEO Andy Soloman.
“Of course, the property sector has boomed since last year leaving it as one of the key areas of economic growth in the devastated covid business landscape. We’re certain there is more growth to be had as long as confidence remains high, but that needs strong supplies of stock, motivated buyers and the ability to transact effectively,” 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 9.28%, or 11.22 points, to end the week on 132.13, some 32% above the average and just 2% below the same week last year.
Buyers fell 1.36%, or 1.73 points, to close at 125.22, 25% above the pre-covid-19 average and 8% down on the same week 2020.
Landlords were the biggest losers on the week, falling 9.62%, or 10.83 points, to finish at 101.79, 2% above the average and 6% lower than the same week last year.
Tenants fell 4.82%, or 6.04 points, to close at 119.21, around 19% above the pre-covid-19 average and 5% down on 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 45 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 24 January 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 26% 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 18%, respectively, above the same week 2020.
YOMDEL ESTATE AGENT WEBSITE TRACKER (w/e 24 JANUARY 2021)