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Written by rosalind renshaw

Almost 95% of people looking for a new home start their search on the internet – and in the 18-24 age group the proportion rises to 100%.

Much older people also start their search online, with 66% of over 75-year-olds using the internet.

The statistics emerge in research by portal Property Price Advice, which gives property valuations almost instantly online.

EAT received news of the survey in an email whose heading was “95% of people now search for their next home online – High st estate agents to close”.

This seemed provocative enough, but the headline proved a bit of a distraction.

Managing director David Bexon – who used to be boss of the Smartnewhomes portal – said: “The rise of the property portal has given people 24/7 access to properties for sale, with many people checking these websites multiple times a day to catch their dream property.

“Estate agents definitely still have a place, though, and shouldn’t be overlooked; they can offer invaluable local knowledge.”

Despite the rise in online searches, the estate agent does remain popular. Half (51%) of the 1,057 surveyed would also visit estate agents when searching for a property, 41% still look in local newspaper property sections, and 38% will also drive around looking for houses for sale.

Property Price Advice, which says it has valued over a million properties, could well be right about estate agents having their uses.

We asked for an online property valuation and were told £425,000, which we thought was probably about right. However, the leeway was enormous, since we were told we might expect as low as £360,000 and as high as £490,000.

Help! We think we need a local estate agent…


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    Matt, like agency a bit of both worlds. Some online but the importnat ones, like my Cruise, I would rather sit in front a real person who knows what they are doing.

    My point? There room for both, folk that try to say there is not have not looked at the travel industry for a start. I picked up a brochure in Thomas Cook sat, all desks busy, was able to get out without the sales patter.

    Just booked a hotel for a night at football on line for Wednesday. See bi-sexual, both ways!

    • 28 October 2013 11:57 AM
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    @Andrex You have a very narrow image of how agents who choose to work either from home or from a serviced office operate. I have a set up which some High Street agents would die for and one which allows me to service my clients 24/7 should I choose to do so. We now live in a 24/7 world and ALL businesses are or will be gearing up to deal with that demand. Unfortunately Thomas Cook will go in the same direction as HMV - it is just a matter of time. Do you mind me asking where you buy your music or DVD's from and how you booked your last holiday? In the meantime I need to get back to booking some more viewings and valuations as 6 viewings and only 2 valuations booked so far this morning is simply not good enough...

    • 28 October 2013 10:49 AM
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    I can't believe how those who work from their toilet yap those High Street agents are dead, this has been said for years, like newspapers, dead for the Internet, shut up its not happening is it?

    If you want to have a pooh whilst waiting for a website to send a viewer , good for you, but please stop telling those that actually sell property what to do. And wash your hand, see its all basics.

    ( Are travel agents still on the High Street, yep!)

    • 28 October 2013 09:27 AM
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    No connection whatsoever with David Bexon however, I think @John Murray has got it right! Have a great weekend...

    • 26 October 2013 11:55 AM
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    Who are you, something connected this PR blunder? Are you the bloke who wrote it and stuck David’s name on it?

    One can not simply make up stuff and publish it as fact if it is so very obviously not possibly true.
    It isn't possible to then claim the percentage to be irrelevant in order to dig oneself out of a very embarrassing hole.
    I simply don't care what you were doing at whatever time of the night or day or with whom it doesn't change the fact that 95% of people do not start their search for property on the internet. I fact I would suggest that most people see a For Sale board or Newspaper advert first and go to the internet as a result.
    With a claimed 10,000,000 unique visitors each month for Rightmove and another 10,000,000 for Zoopla et all. 20,000,000 unique visitors (yeah right) each month yet sales volumes are only 60,000 sales per month it suggests that a conversion ratio of 0.3% means the internet is a simply woeful means of marketing. (Junk mail achieves 4%) The latest Rightmove advert publishes the fact that it is there to give daft, no boyfriend / girlfriend bints something to do at lunchtime.

    David Bexon has made himself look stupid with this PR and you have tarred yourself with the same brush or perhaps you are the one who did all the tarring and are making a pathetic and feeble attempt to clean up the mess.

    • 26 October 2013 06:01 AM
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    It is not so much the demise of the estate agent - it is the demise of the High Street Estate Agency office. More and more it will become the norm for Estate Agents to work out of serviced offices - costs are tiny in comparison and agents will meet the potential purchasers at the property.

    This is the future - the quicker those with High Street agencies change, get rid of the 'shop' and move into serviced offices the better. They will not only survive, they will thrive!

    • 25 October 2013 18:30 PM
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    @wardy I love my brand and I love agency and having been in the industry for eleven years now I guess it's a good job I do. With regards to hash tagging - social media habits die hard!

    • 25 October 2013 16:11 PM
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    @Matt Wells
    You are funny. Every so often you get a commentator on here that, like you tells everybody how it should done, claims to be the savior of estate agency and finishes his posts with words like 'simples' Fanstastic!

    I must say a picture of some strawberries with the slogan 'a fresh approach to estate agency' is shear innovation on your part and having the bloke from the newsagents do your website must of saved you a few quid. I hope the high street agents in your parts are taking your customer care advice to heart.
    BTW, there is literally no point in hash tagging on this website.

    • 25 October 2013 15:31 PM
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    Hmmm... don't think the following points have been raised so far - so here's MY two penn'orth...

    1. "...the 1,057 surveyed..."
    Oh well - it's clearly a MASSIVE proportion of the population that have commented so it's gotta be true...

    2. "The statistics emerge in research by portal..." So - presumably the source didn't go out into the street and actually SPEAK to people - and "the 1057 surveyed" WERE ALREADY ONLINE when they filled in the fr!99in' survey!

    3. "...and in the 18-24 age group the proportion rises to 100%"
    Great. Pity that the poor bu99ers can't actually AFFORD to buy a property for another decade or so, according to ANOTHER "survey"...

    4. "...many people checking these websites multiple times a day to catch their dream property..."
    SO... there's the REAL reason for the massive search stats we are forcefed - straight from the mouth of one of the horses itself!

    5. "... gives property valuations almost instantly online... which says it has valued over a million properties..."
    And maybe - just MAYBE - the word "valued" is a wee bit misleading. YOU click a few boxes - stick an extra couple of acres on the garden size - and Robert's yer dad's brother - a three-bed semi detached mansionette in sh!tsville is "worth" a squiilion quid!

    The Legal Notice section of their (frankly, cr@p) website states
    "Whilst we will do our best (that is to use reasonable care and skill) in providing the property valuations, the property valuations provided on this Site are estimates only and you must only use them on that basis and only for personal (non-business) use...
    We strongly recommend that you seek a professional valuation from a suitably qualified surveyor or other suitably qualified professional before making any decision whether to buy a property, and that you seek advice from a suitably qualified estate agent before determining the market sale price of any property you wish to sell (and in fact it is recommended that you speak to more than one agent to compare valuations)...
    We shall not be liable for any losses you or anyone else suffers as a result of relying on the valuations. This includes not being liable for any loss of profit, loss of bargain, loss of capital through over-payment or under-sale or for any indirect, special or consequential loss."

    So there you have it.

    • 25 October 2013 13:46 PM
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    Not sure why the fuss over a poor web site generating free ads from a PR story? We all know an online val tool is almost worthless.

    • 25 October 2013 12:14 PM
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    @SE Agent In answer to your question, I have both a great life, a wonderful family and a Wife who is 14 years younger than me (I had to get that in) who understands just how hard you have to work when you are launching a new business. If a client contacts me I respond, it's called customer service and something that is greatly lacking in the UK. That level of service will be the making of my business and the failure of the High Street agents who close at 5pm to either go shooting or to the pub!

    @Trevor Thanks for the support!

    Estate Agents need to stop doing what they want to do and start offering what the client wants - ask them one day, you might be surprised! #WeDid

    • 25 October 2013 11:29 AM
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    @Kevin Maybe

    I applaud you working that late, you are committed to your job and if thats the only time that the viewing could take place then you cant do anything about it. Well done!

    @SE Agent, just because the viewing is late why should he have no family? He can surely pop out to conduct the viewing? Mind you if I had to do something that late I bet the missus would be with me!!

    • 25 October 2013 10:58 AM
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    9:30pm !? Don't you have a life/ family?

    • 25 October 2013 10:42 AM
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    @Kevin Maybe we like what we do but more importantly our clients love what we do and how we do it...

    • 25 October 2013 09:49 AM
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    @Matt Wells

    Anyone any good at their job wouldn't need to be working until 9.30pm.

    • 25 October 2013 09:34 AM
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    @Some reading for you David @Evidence please! Whether it's 95% or 75% (or whatever it might be) to be honest is irrelevant, what I believe is important and factual is that more and more buyers and sellers are using the internet compared to visiting a High Street office - that is the long and short of the matter! High Street agency is changing and has already changed significantly enough to put a number of average performing High Street agents on the risk list despite the ever improving market we are in. My advice to High Street agents is as follows - rather than worrying about what percentage of potential buyers now look on line, start looking at how you can control and reduce your running costs. More to the point, how many High Street agents were interacting with their buyers and sellers and booking in viewings at 9.30pm last night - we were...

    • 25 October 2013 09:14 AM
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    To save you from too much more self inflicted personal embarrassment here is a link to show internet usage and access


    When you look through reports like this you ought to realise that your stats must be totally rubbish, not everyone has internet access and therefore 95% of people do not start their search online.

    The reliability and accuracy of your press release does not bode well for your ability to offer advice on value.

    • 25 October 2013 08:21 AM
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    Is there a new school for statistics somewhere or does the Internet generation think they can just make stuff up and pump it out.

    Please give a clear explanation where exactly that 95% comes from and provide credible independent verification of the claim.

    • 25 October 2013 07:12 AM
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