Shocking figures from the Local Data Company, a consultancy monitoring the health of High Streets, show that 211 estate agency offices closed in the first six months of 2018.
This made agency the second fastest declining retail category in the period under review.
The figures do not make clear how many agency businesses closed, nor whether some of the office closures were moves by the agencies concerned from shop front premises into serviced offices.
Instead, the LDC says the slowdown in the housing market, changes to stamp duty and a dropping number of Help To Buy purchasers all impacted the sector.
It says the regions with the highest numbers of branch closures were in London and the South East; slightly strangely, their LDC report accompanying its figures appear to get online estate agencies confused with portals when it says: “Estate agents are also facing increasing competition from online providers with Rightmove, OnTheMarket and Purplebricks all competing for a slice of the market.”
However, it says the average commission for bricks and mortar agents has dropped 40 per cent since 2007, creating “the perfect storm of lower transactions and lower commissions, both which hit agents’ bottom lines.”