Monday, July 11th, 2016
Whether you voted Remain or Leave, it’s probably fair to say that many of us weren’t expecting Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on 23rd June. So given the strong feelings on both sides, we distributed a survey to explore your thoughts on the immediate impact and longer-term implications for your business.
It’s interesting that estate agents seem as divided as the rest of the nation. 54% said it is way too early to think about a Brexit strategy and quite a few believe there simply isn’t a need for one. There may be a reason for this. 53% have so far not been affected by the UK’s decision and 5% actually witnessed a lift in activity. However, the rest have reported negative impacts on their business and some saw sales fall through by as much as 10% and valuations reduce by 40%.
Whilst no one claims to have a crystal ball, when pushed, just over a third felt leaving the EU will not have a long term impact on their business. The remainder cannot be sure or are already anticipating a change in the market and their business model. One thing is certain though; these decisions will be informed and re-informed over the next weeks and years as the political and economic landscape changes at a rate of knots.
Until we have access to facts, often given in hindsight, there will always be polarisation. Just over half predict a 5 – 20% reduction in stock and, price falls of between 5 to 15%. The rest sit on either end of the spectrum with some estimating a tumble of 20 – 50% and others adamant there will be no change. There’s no denying there are more buyers than sellers, so whilst a base reduction in housing stock and value is likely, the market will even itself out and remain steady.
The point that unites everyone is uncertainty leads to a dip in market confidence and this needs to be addressed by the UK government and estate agents themselves. Yet even now there is an opportunity. Until the market settles, it is possible we’ll see more vendors pull out of sales and more opportunists wanting to renegotiate on price. So as negotiations become tricky and sales progression more complex, the question to ask is will consumers rely heavily on traditional estate agents?
Yes, if our research into consumer expectations of estate agency is to go by. 82% of UK home buyers want a personal agent to deal with the entire home buying process, and 58% want life-long relationships with branches that have a true understanding of their property needs. ‘Real people’ with market expertise are highly valued in key parts of the home buying process. And these include conveyancing (72%), arranging viewings and inspecting properties (62%), making an offer (53%) and financial negotiations (42%).
It is time to respond to core business impacts quickly and decisively by modernising to secure competitive advantage. Of course we believe our open API and workflow options will be integral to those agencies that wish to quickly adapt to this new market. But then we would say that… why not call us and find out why?