This year, Estate Agents have been forced to adapt to a different way of working. 1000’s of offices were shut down during lockdown and agents needed to work from home, evolving into online / hybrid businesses. We have looked at the share of new listings by market segment to see how the industry has coped so far in 2020.
Change in Market Share During Lockdown
This chart shows the % change in market share of new listings during lockdown, comparing the 4-week average during lockdown (w/c March 23rd - w/c April 4th) against the 4-week average prior to lockdown (starting w/c February 24th).
Independent agents were the early winners, experiencing a 20% rise in market share. It’s no surprise that online / hybrid businesses also fared well as most of their workforce are accustomed to remote working. The corporates suffered the most, losing 23% share during this 4-week period.
During lockdown most vendors delayed putting their properties on the market, greatly affecting the industry as a whole. Fewer available listings naturally created a much more competitive environment, excluding online / hybrid businesses, it would seem the smaller more agile agencies were quicker to react and benefitted the most.
Change in Market Share Post Lockdown
This chart shows the % change in market share of new listings after lockdown, comparing the 4-week average after lockdown (w/c May 18th - w/c June 8th) against the 4-week average prior to lockdown (starting w/c February 24th).
Once the housing market in England re-opened, corporates began to close the gap in market share they had lost at the expense of the Independents during lockdown. Whilst online / hybrid businesses continued to operate at greater levels.
In a more recent view, comparing w/c June 29th to July 20th against the 4-week average prior to lockdown, we see corporates close the gap even further.
The Future of Estate Agents
Will remote working be the new norm? Now that restrictions have been lifted, some corporates are keen to maintain this approach, dubbed the ‘hub’ approach, centralising their activities and moving away from the high street offering a much wider catchment area with less overheads. Most larger agencies will be forced to operate more competitively which could have a negative impact on Independents. It will be interesting to see how they will adapt and whether corporates reclaim all their market share.