Home sellers’ market strengthens as supply-demand imbalance widens

The outlook for an impending supply crunch in the residential property market became more likely in the past week as new vendor enquiries to estate agents slumped further while buyers remained strong overall, according to the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST).

In the week to midnight Sunday, vendors fell more than 10% to deliver a cumulative decline of 30% in the past month versus a 7% decline in new buyer enquires in the period, leaving seller supply some 40% lower than current buyer demand.

Activity on estate agent own-branded websites remained exceptionally strong, with the volumes of people visiting 157% higher than the first week of lockdown in 2020, and 39% higher than the equivalent week in 2019. In turn, the volume of live chats was 78% higher than last year (38% higher than 2019) and the quantity of leads generated 64% higher than a year earlier (47% higher than 2019).

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 4 April 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.

“We’re hearing more and more agents worried about declining stock levels when faced with incredibly strong and sustained buyer demand. Properties are moving very quickly and given the huge volume of people visiting agent websites those agents maximising their digital activities are those doing best,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder & CEO.

“But digital is just part of the solution, the rest is firmly in the hands of the agents themselves – respond to every lead as fast as possible and deliver exceptional service levels while maximising overall transaction values with referral partners. This is developing into an intensely competitive market,” 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 down 10.39%, or 13.80 points, to end the week on 119.04, some 19% above the average, 196% higher than the same week last year as lockdown was imposed, and 7% above the equivalent week 2019.

Buyers fell 6.77%, or 12.14 points, to close at 167.06, 67% above the pre-covid-19 average, 138% above the same week 2020 and 54% higher than the equivalent week 2019.

Landlords fell 2.25%, or 2.17 points, to 94.21, some 6% below the average, 44% lower than the same week last year, and 19% lower than the same week 2019.

Tenants fell 2.69%, or 2.92 points, to close at 105.58 some 6% above the pre-covid-19 average, 10% above the same week last year, and 16% higher than the equivalent week 2019.

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 – 4 April 2021 and shows how web traffic (blue line) is 157% 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 78% and 64%, respectively, above the same week 2020.

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