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Online agents grow market share but ‘fail’ in higher-value markets

Online agents increased their market share in 2022 but are struggling to break into higher value markets, new data has revealed.

Data company TwentyCi’s  2022 Property & Homemover Report shows the market share of online agents – based on exchanges - was 7.3% last year, up from 6.7% in 2021 but below its 2019 peak of 8.2%.

The online agency share of the £1m plus market is just 1.1% and 5.3% for homes within the £350,000 to £1m bracket. 


They were most dominant for properties worth below £200,000 at 9.2%, with a 7.8% market share up to £350,000.

Purplebricks, Yopa and Strike remain the dominant brands, according to the report, together representing more than 70% of this sector. 

Online agents are struggling to break into the South East and London though, where property values are typically higher.

The market share of online brands was highest in Yorkshire and The Humber at 11.3% followed by the North West at 10.2% but it was below 5% for companies based around inner London, the South and East of England.

The report questioned why online agents have struggled in recent years given the buoyant market, it said: “The subdued performance of these agents in the last two years, in a seller’s market, where demand outstripped supply, seems counter-intuitive 

“Where the fixed-fee lower-cost model arguably ought to have prevailed, our analysis shows the opposite, as vendors consistently opted to stick with traditional agents. This is most pronounced in the higher value brackets, where online agents appear to have reached a ceiling.”

TwentyCi questioned where the market share will go next given the “more challenging” market.

It said: “The failure to be adopted by sellers of higher-value properties will inhibit these agents in establishing a significant market share in London and the South East, where the property value and density of housing are greatest.”

Meanwhile, the report found that the availability of stock within the owner-occupied market is now back to a pre-pandemic norm, but the reverse is true for the lettings market.   

The figures reveal a 5% increase in new instructions last year but a 14% drop in sales agreed.

This pushed the market to 1.2m sales last year, in line with 2019, the report suggests.

Most areas now have five months or more of supply, which is more than double the levels in some regions during 2021, TwentyCi said.

Price changes have edged higher to almost one in five transactions, according to the report, while fall-throughs and withdrawals were similar to 2021 levels.

In contrast, new instructions within the lettings market were down by almost 8% compared with 2021 and by more than 25% since 2019. 

Colin Bradshaw, managing director of TwentyCi, said: “2022 was a turbulent year when the widely anticipated housing market re-calibration began to take effect. 

“We’ve seen some key shifts; most markedly in the stock situations for both the owner-occupied and lettings markets. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to deepen, 2023 looks set to be another fast-changing year and it will be important to keep on top of market trends.” 


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