Online agents see market share stabilise at 7.2% of exchanges – but big regional variations

Online estate agents achieved 7.2% of all exchanges in the final quarter of 2018 – but while their market share climbed in northern regions, it fell in London and the south.

The overall market share dipped very slightly, from 7.6% earlier last year, but was the same as in the third quarter.

Online market share also struggled with properties priced at over £200,000.

The claims are in the latest property and home-mover report from data firm TwentyCI.

Its data shows that in Scotland, market share by onliners increased almost 50% year on year to the end of 2018; in the north-east and Northern Ireland, market share climbed 38% and 34% respectively,

In the north-west, market share was up almost 9%, and in Yorkshire & The Humber gained 8.5%. In the east midlands, it was up almost 6%.

Everywhere else it was a different story.

Market share was down most in the south-east, by over 19%; in London it was down 16%; in the south-west, market share dropped 9%; in Wales, onliners lost 2.4% market share; in the west midlands, the sector was down 1.5%; and in the east of England, there was a small drop of 0.7%.

As far as market share by online agents in terms of house price, the share was up 4% in properties of up to £200,000.

Market share dropped 4.3% in properties priced between £200,000 and £350,000; by 3.3% in properties between £350,000 and £1m; and by 0.6% in properties priced £1m plus.

Colin Bradshaw, chief customer officer of TwentyCi, said: “The unexpected demise of Emoov and the recent results of Purplebricks suggest the building of an online proposition continues to be challenged by the ability to win customers and build brand awareness, especially in southern regions.

“Similar to the dot.com boom of the early 21st century, without a reduction in customer acquisition costs, the current model remains significantly flawed.

“It remains a paradox of this market that online agents are doing better in the north where properties are generally cheaper compared to the south.

“However, based on their fixed fee structures one might have reasonably expected this to have been the other way around.”

Measuring sales at the point of exchange, it said that new instructions in the last three months of last year were up 4% compared with the same period in 2017.

Overall, exchanges in the last quarter of last year were down by 1.2%, with 20% of sales falling through.

The highest fall-through rates were in England and Wales at around 22%, compared with about 10% in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The average property price on exchanges rose by 2.1% year on year, to £302,000.

The report notes that under 35-year-olds were the only age group with a year on year increase in property exchanges – 2% up on the year before.

However, the overall decrease in exchanges across all other age groups included a 7% fall in exchanges by 36 to 45-year-olds, and a 6% fall in exchanges by those aged 66 and above.

The report also says that 40% of available housing stock is now rental, with the proportion steadily increasing throughout last year.

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6 Comments

  1. ArthurHouse02

    Cant imagine their previous paymasters will be happy at this report. Good to see some impartiality though

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  2. ChumpExecutive

    Fascinating statistics. The chickens are coming home to roost for the “upfront fixed fee” business model which assumes that customers are happy to pay for something that a proportion of them will never receive. Either the agency contract has to be made open-ended i.e. infinitely long if every customer is going to be delivered a sale, or the agent agrees to buy the property at a pre-agreed price at the end of a fixed contract period, and sells it on.

    Or, crazy idea, agents work on “no sale, no fee”. Our on-line business Ewemove works on that basis, and it does not lock customers into long sole selling rights contracts which are themselves a fundamentally anti-competitive practise. I know these are what almost every traditional agent uses (including our traditional high street brands) but you would would be hard pressed to explain to a Martian why a customer should sign one.

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    1. Property Pundit

      Nice PR push there, however, all High Street estate agents are on-line businesses too. They just also happen to have a physical office which lots of people still like.

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    2. SLF

      We don’t assume. We know and explain. The client knows exactly what they’re getting and all the implications. I’ve been at a non high street agent for a year and a half and have never had a client complain about or not know about how our fees work.

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    3. GibsAgent

      The fee paid to PB is open ended, meaning (arguably) that everybody who pays will sell eventually.  Unless, heaven forefend, the vendor falls out with them 😉

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  3. surrey1

    Their demise wasn’t unexpected to practically everyone here.

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