International investment bank UBS has double-downgraded Purplebricks from ‘buy’ to ‘sell’ - and that could be good for independent agents, a leading industry figure claims.
The Times has this week reported that analysts at UBS are not as convinced as they once were about Purplebricks’ potential to gain market share.
This is despite the launch of a new marketing drive and a shift of emphasis by the hybrid agency away from being about ‘cheap fees’ and instead saying it’s ‘tech-led’.
Now Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, says this exemplifies the trend of the past year - the search for local connections with agents who have a tangible presence in the community.
“Ironically in a time when a virtual presence has become paramount for estate agents, it is the smaller independent agencies that have seen the largest growth in the number of instructions they have received, rather than the agents who have predominated already been the leaders in the online space” he says.
“Perhaps the reason is that independent agents now have increased access to amazing technology and virtual tools, along with the visibility their local office and community presence.
“In addition, we are also seeing a shift in agents focusing on their websites as their shop windows, improving functionality and embracing digital marketing spend. There is the shift in public behaviour towards supporting local businesses, which has had a positive impact for local independent agencies.”
He adds that in a time filled with so much uncertainty, it seems that vendors are looking for property professionals who they can build a relationship with and who can guide them through the process of selling their property.
“The property sales process was already complicated, and it has become more so with the added elements to think about during a pandemic” says McKenzie.
“Aspects that vendors were perhaps happy to take on themselves before, are now being left to the agent and many people are opting for a local property expert who can help them navigate through the process” McKenzie concludes.