Guest Blog: Richard Milner, Head of Sales at Dezrez
Housing stock shortage
The property market is booming! Estate agents are enjoying the busiest period of success since the recession. The average asking price of properties for Q1 2021 is 3.8% higher compared to Q1 2020 and exchanges are up 54.5% for the same period. This isn’t just localized to certain areas, this is UK wide!
So why does it feel like there is a problem? Why are estate agents staying up until all hours trying to complete as many exchanges as physically possible? Is it just because of the Stamp Duty holiday? If it is, will the end of it bring the market back into some form of balance?
Of course, the end of the Stamp Duty holiday is having some influence here, but the underlying issue is keeping the levels of stock high enough to satisfy the surge in demand. Twenty CI data indicates that agents have 2.2 to 2.6 months left of property stock to sell, which happens to coincide with the Stamp Duty holiday ending.
The property audience is still there
In Q1 2021, there were 500,000 households entering, progressing, or completing the process of moving, an increase of 50% from the same period in 2020. According to Yomdel, new vendor and landlord enquiries fell significantly in the last week of April yet estate agent websites and the portals are still seeing solid traffic.
So why are the public so hesitant to put their house up for sale?
Rather than look at various stats and chatting to industry experts, I decided to ask the public (more importantly, my mates down the golf club). The answers didn’t surprise me, more confirmed my own experience/views and those of our customers.
Many of the people I spoke to want to move, but are petrified to put their house on the market as they know how quickly it will sell. They would much rather wait and find their dream new home, before taking action to sell. However, if more sellers decided to come to market, this would help across the whole chain. At the moment, we are in a vicious circle with no real solution.
One particular friend is in this exact scenario, having recently sold their house in record time and being forced to rent whilst searching for a new home. ‘A painful experience’ is the comment every time I ask him how it’s all going. The industry is trying its hardest to make the whole process of buying/selling a house more enjoyable not more stressful!
The question is ‘what can we do to convince sellers to come to market now?’
Is proptech the answer?
We know that today’s buyer and sellers are more tech-savvy than ever before. Consumers want ease and convenience, they want information that’s easily accessible at any time. The real question for estate agents at the moment is not whether to embrace Proptech, but how they can use it to enhance their business? Keeping up to date with the latest innovations and tools is obviously important, especially client centered Proptech such as personal client portals that help making the buying/selling process easier.
A good amount of estate agents have already embraced this though, so what is missing?
The human factor
The property industry has always been a rollercoaster industry and no matter how much tech is out there, it is equally important to have the human element. How you use that Proptech to communication with clients and manage the emotional relationship is critical especially at the moment. Prospecting has never been more important, pro-actively going out and finding the business for yourselves. The industry needs to ask itself, are we doing enough?
Answers on a postcard please….