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More than 90 per cent of home sellers choose high street agents over new breed of online rivals

Homeowners are still overwhelmingly opting for their local high-street agent when selling their home, despite the emergence of the new breed of online agents, latest research has revealed.

March 9, 2018

  • More than 90% of house sellers are opting for traditional high street agents over their online competitors across England and Wales
  • Across the country less than 10% of sellers are using online agents. In some parts of London and the North adoption rates are even lower – less than 3%, or 1 in 40 listings – despite the fact that these companies have been around for almost a decade
  • Online agents are most popular in areas with buoyant markets, with between 6-10% of market share
  • Six of the top 10 areas for online agents are in the Midlands

90% Choosing Traditional Estate Agents

According to analysis by the HomeOwners Alliance, 90% of homeowners across the country are still choosing traditional agents over their online rivals, despite internet-based agents having been around for almost 10 years.

But in some parts of England and Wales, nearly 10% of home sellers are choosing the new generation of online estates agents to handle what is likely to be the biggest financial transaction in their lives, according to the analysis.

Online agents are most popular in areas where the success rate of selling is higher than the national average. Dudley, Lincoln and Wolverhampton are the parts of country with the highest percentage of properties advertised only using leading agents without high-street offices, with between 8 and 10% market share. Full figures are below.

Nine out of the top 10 areas boast above-average successful sales rates ranging from 55-66%— the number of properties advertised which subsequently go ‘under offer’ — suggesting that online agents are faring best in the most buoyant sections of the property market. Across all of England and Wales the average success rate is 51.9%.

But adoption of non-traditional agents is slower in parts of the South and the North, with three postcode areas inside the M25 amongst the parts of the country with the lowest adoption rates — North West London (2.4% market share), West of London (2.5%) and Harrow (2.6%). Use of online agents is also lower in Darlington, Durham and Wigan.

Adopting this new way of selling a home means that vendors can potentially save thousands of pounds in agents’ fees. But they often have to pay a flat fee whether the property is sold or not, and may have to conduct their own viewings. Industry experts believe this may be because in more buoyant markets people are more confident to try and sell their homes themselves, via an online agent.

Data

The authoritative research harnesses the HomeOwners Alliance EstateAgent4Me tool, which uses details from the sales of tens of thousands of recent properties. The data also shows how the market is split between online and traditional estate agents across 100 postcode areas in England and Wales.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “The digital revolution has already transformed the way we communicate, manage our finances and buy countless goods and services. Even though we may find our next property and do our research online, we seem to be slow adopters when it comes to the way we sell our homes.

“Our research shows that online agents are having more penetration where the market is hotter. Where homes are harder to sell, it’s possible homeowners may prefer the presence of high-street premises and a professional agent on hand to show potential buyers around.

“Our free website lets anyone selling their home to see which estate agents in their local area have the best track records, be they online or a long-established local firm — showing which agents are selling homes most quickly and closest to the initial asking price. We also review the online firms so you can rank and shop around all in one place.”

Postcode areas with fastest online agent adoption rates

POSTCODE AREA % market share online % success rate of local agents (compared to a national average of 51.9%)
Dudley DY 9.8 66.0
Lincoln LN 9.2 59.8
Wolverhampton WV 7.7 62.5
Maidstone ME 7.6 56.4
Liverpool L 7.3 48.3
Leicester LE 7.1 58.2
Doncaster DN 6.5 61.8
Birmingham B 6.5 64.4
Swansea SA 6.2 55.1
Derby DE 6.0 59.8

 

Postcode areas with slower online agent adoption rates

POSTCODE AREA % market share online % success rate of local agents (compared to a national average of 51.9%)
London North West NW 2.4 27.3
Blackpool FY 2.5 44.4
London West W 2.5 24.9
Colchester CO 2.6 47.4
Oxford OX 2.6 47.4
Harrow HA 2.6 37.9
Wigan WN 2.6 55.4
Redhill RH 2.7 53.4
Darlington DL 2.8 50.3
Durham DH 2.8 44.9

Methodology

There are several major indices that analyse UK property prices and the state of the housing market on a regular basis. Our research shows how the market is divided between traditional, high-street estate agents and online agents. Looking at transactions made during the preceding 180 days, we break down the data by more than 100 postcode areas in England and Wales. This research is based on data released in February.

Our data includes sales made using online estate agents Purplebricks, Yopa, House Simple, Express Estate Agents, Tepilo, emoov, Doorstep Agents, Open House Estate Agents, and The Good Agent.

A postcode area is denoted by the first two letters of any postcode.

Although not every property sale is listed online, our samples are large, though it does not extend to Scotland or North Ireland.

How our data can help homeowners

The complex statistical engine run by EstateAgent4Me is fed daily with property data from thousands of estate agents to provide accurate comparison data. The engine looks at key stats about the agents, including:

  • Their average success rate (how likely they are to sell a home) – this is determined by the percentage of all properties found advertised by this agent on websites during the last 180 days that were subsequently advertised as sold subject to contract.
  • Whether they achieve the asking price – this is calculated by dividing the sold price (as recorded at HM Land Registry) by the initial advertised asking price averaged for a representative sample of properties found advertised by this agent on websites during the previous 180 days.
  • How long, on average, it takes them to sell a property – this is determined by calculating each agents’ average time to reach ‘sold subject to contract’ for all properties advertised by this agent on websites during the previous 180 days.

For more information, see how the site works


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