Selling houses is evolving as online estate agents gain market share

As the UK housing market continues to shift and embrace new technology, online estate agents are becoming increasingly popular while many traditional agents are beginning to struggle.

Online estate agents now represent 8% of all residential property exchanges in the UK market, according to new figures released by TwentyCi in its Property & Homemover Report Q2 2018, as they begin to gain more ground on traditional high street estate agents.
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In the last quarter, the number of property exchanges completed by online agents rose by 13%, with 30% growth in homes priced at less than £1m – a sign that more people selling their homes are opting for online options rather than visiting a physical branch. What’s more, it seems that the older generations are getting on board the most with the new form of selling, with a 10% rise in “baby boomer” exchanges.

While online agents often boast of being cheaper than traditional agents as they normally charge a fixed fee rather than commission, even those selling lower priced properties who might not see as many financial benefits from using an online agent are choosing the digital route.

Younger buyers are keeping a low profile

Colin Bradshaw, chief customer officer at TwentyCi, commented: “The growth in market share for online agents continues unabated. It is interesting to note that almost all of this growth has been properties below £1m.

“Logic might dictate that a fixed-price service might be more attractive to sellers of higher-priced properties, but perhaps this group of vendors is motivated by factors other than just price.”

Terraced and semi-detached properties accounted for more than half (55%) of all exchanges seen in the second quarter figures, representing annual growth of 8% for terraces and 6% for semi-detached homes. However, owners of detached homes are keeping hold of their properties, with a 12% dip in exchanges, which could indicate that higher-value homeowners are opting to stay and renovate their homes rather than sell.

The number of younger buyers aged 18-35 actually fell by 14%, according to the statistics, which is a further sign of the lifestyle and tenure shifts seen in this generation as people are renting for much longer before stepping onto the property ladder.

The rise comes on the back of news that some of the country’s major estate agents, including Foxtons and Countrywide, are beginning to struggle, with some at risk of going out of business.

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