There has been a surprise, but small, increase in the market share of online estate agents according to the latest survey.
Business consultancy TwentyCi says online operators’ market share peaked at 7.9 per cent during the third quarter of this year.
But the consultancy says the long-term average market share remains at 7.0 per cent and this appears to be a ceiling for online firms, which will need “a significant change in marketing” if they are to move closer to a 10 per cent share.
Market share by property price band has been consistent for online agents, with lower priced homes steadily contributing to the sustained online agent growth.
Consistent to the last quarter, for Q3 year on year, the largest growth in the use of online agents is in Scotland, closely followed by the North East of England.
This trend reflects the ongoing popularity of online agents with homeowners selling lower-priced properties, typically more of which are found in these areas of the country.
Online agents have also made significant gains in London and Scotland, potentially given their fixed cost appeal for greater consumer confidence.
TwentyCi notes that onliners are failing to gain traction with property sellers in the South West and the East of England where traditional high street agents have more market share and larger proportions of more premium properties are located.
“Online agents consistently resonate with the lower-value end of the housing market; to achieve significant growth across the market we would anticipate a change in approach from these agents to engage with the broader housing market” explains Colin Bradshaw TwentyCi’s chief customer officer.
TwentyCi’s report on the wider housing market for the third quarter of 2019 shows Brexit’s impact slowing most aspects except for an eight per cent increase in exchanges amongst first time buyers aged 18 to 35.
There were 966,464 homes exchanged in the year to September, showing a 2.2 per cent rise on the previous year, but the snapshot also reveals a decline of new properties coming on the market.
TwentyCi says government proposals to make house sellers pay stamp duty instead of buyers in this quarter may have also contributed to caution in the market.
Q3 saw a total of 1,715,395 new instructions, 212,319 fall throughs and 801,013 withdrawals in the market.
Nationwide there is a clear North-South divide with any growth in average asking prices across the North of the UK and the Midlands, with London and the south showing a small percentage reduction in average asking prices.
While previous reports showed some growth in average asking prices for properties in the South of the UK, it is likely that homes in this region of the UK have seen average asking prices stabilise following their earlier peak – with the peak of this growth in the North.