Lettings News

Agents’ resilience key to property market survival

Em Morley - March 20, 2020

Property portal Residential People believes that “dark days are ahead but there remains light at the end of the tunnel”.

With the coronavirus set to cause the most significant financial disaster since 2008, Residential People says that the property market is also on the brink of a crisis unless it embraces change.

With the UK government guidelines on self-isolation changing by the day, and fewer people roaming the streets, the property portal foresees that many traditional, bricks and mortar high street agents could suffer significant losses as we enter unprecedented territory.

They believe that agents should embrace technology and use it to their advantage if they’re to continue to generate business as the streets get emptier.

Fortunately, these days agents have access to video conferencing tools and virtual tours to continue providing a more detailed look at a home for interested parties, as opposed to a static image.

The impact of coronavirus and what agents can do

Working from home has already been enforced for many high-street agencies due to Covid-19.

As highlighted by Lucy Pendleton, Co-Founder and Director of James Pendleton estate agents, the impact of the virus has already begun to have very real implications for the property market, noting: “Coronavirus impacted our business for the first time a few days ago, stealing away a sale that was just days from exchanging.”

Residential People’s Co-Founder & Director, Christopher May, reminds agents that: “The property sector has faced big crisis’ in the past and bounced back, so I see no reason why the market shouldn’t do the same this time around.”

The property portal compares the current situation to the 2007 financial crisis – a total of 2.5 million mortgages were approved in 2007, to then fall to under 1 million a year.

Challenging agents to learn from the past, May adds: “Despite the vast decrease in approved mortgages, collapsing banks as well as depreciating house prices following the market crash; the property sector successfully managed to bounce back to good health.”

“Residential People strongly believes that the industry has the ability to not only make it through the dark days that lie ahead, but to expand to new heights…. just as long as the sector is ready to embrace change..”

Change is coming for the property industry

With the global economy in disarray, it’s time for the property industry to think about ways of flexible advertising and reducing their costs.

Some property portals have offered token gestures such as ‘deferred payments’ that ultimately must be paid somewhere down the line, but these do little to resolve the real problem.

Highlighting an alternative way for small and medium-sized agents to stay afloat, May states: “In these troubling times, estate agents are being bled dry. Portals are not operating with compassion and understanding that many agents will struggle to remain trading if proposed lockdowns are in place throughout the UK.”

While the large, multinational agencies are well-positioned to endure and minimise the impact of a sustained drop in traffic, the smaller agents are on the firing line, and will undoubtedly be the first to fall should this crisis continue for several months.

May concludes: “If you’re the decision-maker in an SME that’s having to weigh up letting staff members go or continue to pay a portal, I want you to know that there is another way.”

“By joining a fairer marketplace such as Residential People, you can advertise your properties for free, allowing you to alleviate some of the worries you may have during this sensitive period.”