Coronavirus vaccine hopes see market hold steady to buck seasonal slowdown trends

Good news on coronavirus vaccines helped boost new enquiries to the residential property market and buck normal seasonal trends in the past week, as buyers pushed to secure properties before the stamp duty holiday deadline expires, while vendors, landlords and tenants remained buoyant, the latest Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) shows.

The levels of new enquiries to estate agents from vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants have all cooled significantly from this summer’s record peaks. But in good news for agents, the normal seasonal slowdown has failed to yet materialise, with vendors finishing the week 46% higher than the same week in 2019, while buyers were 40% higher over the same period, landlords 15% higher and tenants 36% higher.

The pattern was repeated on estate agent own-branded websites with traffic 44% higher than the same week 2019, delivering 47% more engagement via live chat and a phenomenal 62% more in terms of new leads, illustrating just how important digital is for agents to secure new business.

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 22 November 2020. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 44 million unique website visits back to January 2019.

“This is good news for estate agents at what is normally an increasingly quiet time of year as we get closer to Christmas. People are still buzzing around estate agents like bees round a honeypot. Unseasonably large numbers of buyers are in the market and there is strong supply from motivated sellers, so properties should be flying off the shelves right now,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.

“Covid, for all the terrible things it brings, has sparked a unique set of circumstances that play straight into the hands of forward-thinking estate agents with clearly defined and executed digital engagement strategies. Yes, there are challenges with sales progression but there is huge opportunity too,” 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 fell 9.22%, or 10.29 points, to end the week on 101.26, which left them 1% above the pre-covid-19 62-week average but a huge 46% above the same week in 2019.

Buyers also fell, losing 12.88%, or 15.71 points, to close at 106.24, some 6% above the pre-covid-19 average but 40% above the same week last year.

Landlords gained 3.89%, or 3.79 points, to finish at 101.25, some 1% above the average and 15% higher the same week in 2019.

Tenants dipped 0.77%, or 0.78 points, to close at 100.90, some 1% above the pre-covid-19 average and 35% higher than 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 44 million visitors to estate agent websites from Jan 2019 – 22 November and shows how web traffic  (blue line) is 44% 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 47% and 62%, respectively, above the same week 2019.

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