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'Top High Street agents significantly out-perform onliners' says group

A consumer group which has consistently promoted online agencies says they achieve closer to sellers’ original asking price than the national average - but admits that “the top tier of high street agents still significantly outperform online sellers.”

The HomeOwners’ Alliance says brands such as Purplebricks, eMoov and YOPA “have shaken up the property industry in recent years, and analysis of their performance suggests their success is well-deserved.” 

However, it goes on to say that the top 1,000 high street agents in ana analysis undertaken by the HOA achieved an average selling price of 100.35 per cent of their value.

This suggests “that sellers can still maximise their home’s potential by selecting the correct local agent. They also have a far higher success rate, selling 82.42 per cent of homes listed with them compared to 51.98 per cent among the onlines” says the HOA analysis.

The HOA bases its findings on the average final sale price of £234,000 set out in the government’s ONS house price index dating from February this year, and it uses Which? data to set a typical High Street estate agent’s commission at 1.3 per cent.

For the exercise it also claims that the typical online agency’s fee is £849 (which is in fact the out-of-London listing price for Purplebricks - although that agency charges £1,199 in London and surrounding areas).

The HOA then calculates the performance of 10 online agents - Purplebricks, House Simple, YOPA, eMoov, Tepilo, Ewemove, House Network, easyProperty, Hatched and Settled.

The analysis then looked at how likely they were to sell a home, determined by the percentage of all properties found advertised by the agents on websites during the last 180 days that were subsequently advertised as sold subject to contract.

It also judged whether they achieved the asking price which HOA calculated by dividing the Land Registry sold price by the initial advertised asking price averaged for what it calls “a representative sample of properties found advertised by this agent on websites during the previous 180 days.”

The HOA also analyses how long it takes them to sell a property, determined by calculating each agents’ average time to reach sold subject to contract for all properties advertised by this agent on websites during the previous 180 days.

From this it claims that over the past six months, Britain’s online agents have achieved 95.85 per cent of their original asking price “which compares favourably with the national average of 95.69 per cent” - although it admits this is well below the highest performing High Street services.

The data shows that online agents proved effective in shifting homes quicker than their average - although not necessarily the best-performing - High Street counterparts. “While the average UK home remained on the market for 60 days before a sale being agreed, those listed with online agents were typically sold in just 43 days (40 per cent quicker)” says the HOA.

The association says Britain’s different online agents “appear to excel in different areas.” 

It claims Purplebricks was found to have a better success rate (61.5 per cent) than almost all of its online competitors and than the national average. 

However, YOPA was the best performer in terms of achieving asking price (97.07 per cent on average) and the quickest sale (an average of just 29 days).

“Sellers who look carefully at their local market before listing their home for sale will probably still be better off instructing the best high street agent in their area. But for those looking for a quick, easy sale with surprisingly high rewards, online agents are an excellent and rapidly-improving option” according to Paula Higgins of the HOA.

Meanwhile Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, says in the press release accompanying the HOA analysis: “We live in a digital age, and online estate agents may suit some people’s lifestyles. The important thing is choice, as others will always prefer to use a high-street agent as they prefer the face-to-face interaction, so spending time researching the best option is crucial.”

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