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Fine & Country: Tougher market provides opportunity for good agents

Agents remain positive about the year ahead but may need to raise their fees or grow market share to survive, Fine & Country claims.

The upmarket agency network recently wrapped up its Autumn Regional Tour, which started in Wales and went throughout the UK. 

It conducted a survey in each region asking agents to rate their business overview of 2022 from one to 10, as well as their outlook for 2023. 


Every region throughout the country had a more positive outlook for 2023. 

The average figure for this year’s business overview across the eight regional meetings was 7.4 out of 10, while the average outlook for next year was 8.3. 

Overall, the network is more optimistic about 2023 and believes that their business will do better than it did this year, despite the predicted challenges that lie ahead,” 

Fine & Country UK managing director Nicky Stevenson said “There is no doubt among agents within the network that next year will be more challenging, but context is important when looking at the year ahead. 

“The market is down, but comparing it with unprecedented periods will only amplify the perceived scale of decline.”

Reviewing historical seasonally adjusted transaction data from HMRC between 2015 and 2019, Stevenson highlights that the annual average transaction numbers are 1,209,606. 

In 2020, transactions dropped to 1,038,580 but reached 1,480,870 in 2021, a 42.5% annual increase.

She added: “When contrasted with the five-year norm of 2015-2019, it is a 22.4% increase on the ‘normal’ levels of transactions, and not as high as the level of transactions seen between 2006 and 2007, which averaged 1,643,675 transactions per annum. So, context matters when it comes to reviewing the data.”

In a slower market, she said, agents will need to increase their average fee to stand still or grow their market share. 

Stevenson said: “If the right principals and techniques are applied, the challenges in a tougher market will provide opportunity for good agents to grow their market share and beat out competitors with fewer resources. The best agents will shine in the tougher market, and brands with a strong value proposition and a focus on providing exceptional customer service will continue to push forward.”

She adds that agents believe that managing client’s expectations in 2023 will be essential, as will realistically pricing properties for the market. However, many are seeing good levels of stock coming to market and vendors who are more motivated to sell.

Stevenson said: “The upper quartile of the sector has been more cushioned from the economic headwind impacting the market, largely due to fewer buyers within the prime market being reliant on finance from banks to purchase a property. 

“The prime market also experiences a higher number of overseas buyers, who have been taking advantage of the value of the sterling dropping in recent months. While the mini-budget may have slowed foreign investment, it is believed that the stability in recent weeks will have done much to curb concerns and reinstate confidence in the UK market.”


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