Nearly 900 estate agency branches have closed over the past six months, or 4% of the UK’s 22,270 branches.
The claim is made by BestAgent, which says its unique market-wide industry database enables it to monitor estate agency branches as they close.
BestAgent manages all the UK’s property listings on a daily basis and claims ‘near 100%’ coverage of the property market and industry, although some of the agents on its list could also be property consultants who only list properties occasionally on the portals.
“From this monitoring we are able to see which agents appear to have closed, which we measure by counting 30 days of no listings since the last detected live property listing,” says founder Charlie Lamdin.
BestAgent was launched in September 2019 and offers estate agents a much richer level of data about their local market and competitors than even the big portals are able to offer.
“On the back of the closure of so many agent branches, there is a wave of mostly self-employed new agent businesses appearing,” says Lamdin.
“We even have one-man-band agents using BestAgent BackOffice as a website and portal uploading platform at no cost, who seem to be doing brisk trade.
But he says that even before Covid there was severe pressure on many agencies who were laying off staff.
“The uncertainty created during the first lockdown in March 2020 will have led to a larger wave of closures in the second half of 2020 than was already happening,” he says.
“But to lose 4% of all companies in six months is a deep cut. It’s fascinating to see the growth in the self-employed model.”