As you may have seen over the weekend, the long-running Property Natter column – penned by Angels Media chief executive, Nat Daniels – kickstarted a series zoning in on the independent agents who help the market to tick.
As mentioned in the article, independent agents – the one, two, three or more branch outfits, well-respected and established in their local area, and some with very long and illustrious histories – make up a big bulk of the marketplace.
However, many believe they are under-represented when it comes to news and time spent in the spotlight.
Major awards events such as the ESTAS and trade bodies such as the Guild do a great job of celebrating the work of the independents, but here at EAT we are keen to do more to champion the work of the agents who make up a large part of our readership and without whom the market would be unable to function.
We’d like to do this in a similar way to our weekly Agents Do Charity column, where we give praise to the charitable endeavours of agencies – large and small – from across the country.
In that spirit, for the remainder of this year, the Natter feature will be running a series giving agents from up and down the UK the chance to have their moment in the limelight.
Why is local agency so important?
The importance of the property industry, and estate agency in particular, was made plain when it was one of the first major industries to open up after the first lockdown.
A big reason for this was its role as a multiplier in the economy – in other words, people who buy, sell, rent and let homes also spend money on removals, plumbing, electrics, furniture, appliances, garden tools, etc.
In Lockdown 2, the estate agency sector is also being allowed to remain open as the market continues to thrive, fuelled by the stamp duty holiday surge and generally positive market conditions.
According to research from IBISWorld, the UK’s estate agency industry is said to be worth a sizeable £12 billion, with more than 27,400 businesses currently operating. It also said that the sector employs more than 161,500 workers. A big chunk of these businesses are the independents we mentioned above.
Separate research from data consultancy TwentyCi found that, post-lockdown 1, the market share of independents was increasing. Its survey found that single-office independent agents improved their market share by 5% in the four weeks post-lockdown 1, while two-to-five branch independents also had a 5% share during the same period, again better than before.
There are definite challenges ahead, with TwentyCi also recently reporting that 700 agency branches failed to reopen after the spring lockdown, but many agencies have adapted remarkably well – with speed, decisiveness and the embracing of innovation and digital solutions – to the new Covid normal.
It’s times like this – when the challenges are plenty, but so too are the opportunities for growth – that the spotlight is needed more than ever on the achievements and hard work of the ‘backbone of the industry’.
How can you get involved?
If you feel like your agency has not had the limelight or credit it deserves, we’d love to hear from you. Please nominate your choices by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweeting Estate Agent Today, outlining what makes your agency special.
The Natter will aim to feature as many names as possible between now and the end of the year.