The influential consumer property body HomeOwners Alliance says Purplebricks-style hybrid estate agencies may be “the future”.
In a blog on the HOA website, author Claire Carponen says that for a company as established as Savills to invest in a hybrid agency - as it did recently with YOPA - the model must now be taken seriously.
“The move can be seen as part of a wider trend by established companies partnering with start-up companies for their technology advantages” she says, using as further evidence the Connells acquisition of online agency Hatched last year.
“Everything is moving online and it’s only a matter of time before we can buy a home through the internet. However, people still want human interaction and an expert who knows the local area. Hybrids could provide both things” according to Paula Higgins, chief executive officer of the HomeOwners Alliance.
She says online-only companies typically offer a basic package of services while hybrids are closer in type to a traditional agency, and questions in the light of the hybrid emergence whether there is any longer a need for agencies to have branches on high streets.
“You can buy and sell a home with an estate agent without stepping foot into their office. They are, essentially, just places where you look at pictures of homes – something you can do more conveniently online. Our high streets are dominated by estate agents but in a few years’ time they could look very different” she says.