The bank Credit Suisse has launched a new monthly survey of online estate agents, using a simple eight-element questionnaire.
The bank - which has a growing interest in the UK estate agency industry in terms of its investment advice notes to clients - says it has introduced the questionnaire to try to fill in some of the gaps it says exists in terms of market data for online agents.
“The rapid development of the online estate agency sector has meant it has become a key element of the real estate industry. However, given it is a relatively new service offering, it is still in its infancy in regards to available market data. Consequently, the gap between the volume of available data for the traditional industry and the online estate agency industry has grown” the banks claims.
Its monthly survey - a copy of which has been sent to Estate Agent Today by one of the agencies questioned - covers market trends and business sentiment, and is conducted with a methodology similar, in some respects, to the way the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors compiles its market analyses, with a ‘net balance score’ showing the proportion of onliners reporting a trend or sentiment.
The eight questions are:
1. How have new instructions changed over the last month? (up/down/same)
2. How has the number of properties sold changed over the last month? (up/down/same)
3. How has the total number of listed properties on your site changed over the last month? (up/down/same)
4. Have the average lengths of listings changed over the past month? (up/down/same)
5. How have buyer enquiries/website visits changed over the past month? (up/down/same)
6. Has the average revenue per instruction changed in the last three months? (up/down/same)
7. Relative to last month, do you expect the next month’s number of new instructions to be... (up/down/same)
8. How do you expect new instructions to change over the next three months? (up/down/same)
These questions are sent to the bank’s contact list of online and hybrid agencies which it says covers 90 per cent of the sector, and the results from each agency turned into a ‘diffusion index’ - the formula that create the ‘net balance score’.
So for July - the first output of the survey - the results were that total new vendor instructions to onliners were reported to have risen, the number of properties exchanged by online agents was up month-on-month, and the respondents were optimistic for a continued increase in instructions in the following three months.
As with all such surveys, the quality of the output - the result - is dependent on the quality of the information coming from the respondents.
Specifically, these are the net balance of the respondents’ replies, in percentage terms, as reported to Credit Suisse by the online agents:
New Instructions +63 per cent: some the majority (63 per cent) saw an increase in new vendor instructions.
Properties Exchanged +25 per cent: a net balance of 25 per cent more respondents reported a rise in exchanges as opposed to a fall.
Total Listed Properties +63 per cent.
Average Length Of Listing -13 per cent.
Website Visits +38 per cent.
Average Revenue Per Instruction +63 per cent.
New Instruction Expectations for next one month +75 per cent.
New Instruction Expectations for next three months +100 per cent.