Industry analyst questions ‘viability’ of online agency model as market share falls

The market share of hybrid and online agents dropped to just 6.7% last year, down from 8% in 2020, the latest figures show.

A report by the property consultancy TwentyCi, carried out at the end of last year, reveals that the online/hybrid sector of the estate agency industry is dominated by three main players – Purplebricks, Yopa and Strike, who represent close to 70% of the market.

The Property & Homemovers End of Year Report – 2021 – refers to the fact that there was a shift to online across a number of sectors during the pandemic, but points out that the estate agency sector has not followed suit.

There was a notable drop in market share of the hybrid/online agents across all the main price bands of the housing sector – except in the £1m-plus market.

Colin Bradshaw, chief customer officer of TwentyCi, said: “Such a considerable underperformance in a buoyant market will clearly raise significant interest in the viability of the business model that has failed to gain traction with 93% of sellers last year.

“This suggests that perhaps sellers prefer the tangible, personal and reassuring approach given by traditional agents. Whether this is a blip remains to be seen.”

The TwentyCi report also reflects on the strength of the market last year, with 2021 seeing more than 1.45m sales agreed – an increase of 13% on 2020 and 25% greater than 2019. These are levels of transactions not seen since prior to the 2008 global financial crisis.

The lack of residential property stock

In 2021 there were 6% fewer properties put up for sale as the conclusion of the stamp duty holiday and a lack of available options for would-be purchasers significantly slowed the stock coming to market.

On average there is now only 2.5 months’ worth of stock available across the UK.

The significant momentum seen in the residential property market through 2020 and 2021 has come to an end and a re-calibration to pre-pandemic levels is anticipated.

To view the report, click here.




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  1. PeeBee

    Oh, dear – it’s never pretty when lovers fall out…

  2. Woodentop

    This two factor authorisation is a pain!


    Would you seriously trust someone working out of their bedroom to sell you multi £k home?


    The consumer wants confidence that the biggest asset in their life is taken care of. The small hybrid/on-line only is never going to gain traction unless they are big and have the marketing clout. Just look at the multi £m’s spent by PB and they still haven’t got anywhere except backwards after the honeymoon hype dwindled.


    Am I wrong …. just look at the history to date. Not one of them has made a significant in roads to our industry, most have gone bankrupt. The on-line nationals hype all their figures into one, but when you break it down into individual towns and regions …. they are very poor performers.

  3. PeeBee

    With PB’s share price having just crossed the 20p threshold (heading in the wrong direction), I would say the viability of the model is pretty evident…


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