Some 713 estate agency branches have failed to reopen following the spring lockdown according to a business consultancy.
TwentyCi says that is the equivalent of a 3.5 per cent drop in the total number of High Street branches: it has no finer detail on the closures, so cannot be clear as to whether they are agencies closing completely or simply not operating - even in a restricted way - from branches.
In the same report, the consultancy shows that online and hybrid agents are still failing to get above eight per cent market share, despite a recent spurt in customers.
TwentyCi says online and hybrid agents have seen instructions grow by very nearly a half in just three months - a bigger jump than enjoyed by traditional agents - but even so they still have only 7.9 per cent market share.
In the sub-£200,000 house price sector they have 9.67 per cent share, while between £200,000 and £350,000 the share is 8.65 per cent. The £350,000 to £1m sector sees online and hybrids with a 6.44 per cent share, while that drops heavily to just 1.85 per cent of the sector at £1m and above.
However, hybrid penetration has risen across all regions except Scotland and Wales with significant growth being seen for the first time in London and the South East, up 28 and 15 per cent respectively.
In the wider market surge seen in recent months, Twenty Ci says that in the third quarter of this year new instructions showed a 36 per cent spike compared to the same period of 2019 - and the increase in sales agreed was no less than 53 per cent.
“Exchanges are currently down 40 per cent year-on-year, however; this is attributed to both lockdown and the current conveyancy emergency which sees demand for surveyors, conveyancing, search providers and mortgage underwriters outstrip demand causing significant delays” explains the consultancy.
Post-lockdown the largest increase in sales agreed is for three and four bedroom properties, up 24 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.
Sales agreed have risen fastest in rural areas (up 47 per cent), compared to an increase of 19 per cent in urban areas; in terms of property type, sales of detached properties have increased most, by 48 per cent.
The South West has recorded the highest rise in sales agreed - up 38 per cent - followed by the South East with a 33 per cent increase and the East of England achieving 31 per cent growth.
By comparison, Twenty Ci says London has performed relatively poorly with Inner London achieving an increase of just four per cent and Outer London recording a six per cent rise.
The consultancy also goes against the conventional wisdom that the stamp duty holiday has been the single biggest driver for demand in recent months in the sales market.
“The data indicates that the reopening of the property market in May was more of a catalyst to sales agreed than the stamp duty holiday. However, the Chancellor’s policy serves to maintain the buoyancy currently experienced” it says.
“With low interest rates, furlough payments, stamp duty holiday and a significant shift in consumer preference driven by the pandemic it is unsurprising that we are experiencing levels of growth unseen for over a decade” explains Colin Bradshaw, chief customer officer at TwentyCi.