Foxtons identifies online and hybrid agents as a possible risk to its own business.
However, it says the risk is small because of the “emotional and complex” nature of estate agency transactions.
In its annual report, it says: “Foxtons operates in a highly competitive marketplace.
“New or existing competitors could develop new services or methods of working including online and hybrid agents, which could give them a competitive advantage over Foxtons.”
It goes on to say that Foxtons continually collects information on competitor activity, and that its flat management structure allows this intelligence to be fed quickly back to management so that the company can rapidly consider appropriate response.
It goes on: “The Board believes that the emotional and complex nature of estate agency transactions means that it is unlikely that online agents will play a major role in the exchange or completion of sales or lettings transactions without the involvement of an estate agent.
“Any market share gained by online agents is likely to be at the expense of traditional estate agents with low levels of service who compete on price.
“However, the challenge of online agents will be kept under review.”
Foxtons gives the chance of this risk crystallising as low.
In contrast, it takes the risk of continuous high property price inflation much more seriously, saying there is high potential of this materialising.
If it does, Foxtons says it would affect affordability and transaction levels.