Industry speculation about the future of online agents has been rife following the demise of eMoov, Tepilo and Hatched and the well-documented challenges facing HouseNetwork and Purplebricks.
But although each of these have claimed different reasons behind their troubles, one online agent continues unperturbed by the challenges of its stable mates.
That agency is Howsy, formerly known as NoAgent. The Negotiator asked its CEO Calum Brannan how he sees the online agency sector developing, and why he thinks his online agency is different from the others.
“When it comes to the online space, I think it’s very important to differentiate between the sales and lettings market,” he says.
“Lettings is much more sustainable for online businesses due to the repeat transactions that come through tenancies.
“The sales market is more open to macro-economic impacts of the housing market in general.
“More importantly, technology allows online lettings agents to build deeper relationships with landlords and tenants.
“Unlike most other online providers, Howsy is leveraging innovation to ensure that the focus is not just on the single transaction (and subsequent renewal), but on developing longer term relationships, which is a more robust business model.
“Easing the friction between tenants and landlords, not just at the viewing and contract stage, but for the duration of the tenancy, helping with everything from rent collection to repairs, is something that only digitally focused companies can build at scale.
“While there may be question marks around online sales agents, I believe the online lettings space is only just getting started, and so the future looks very bright indeed.”