The property industry lost 2.6% of its branches during 2020, latest analysis by a leading data firm has revealed, or 339 branches in total across the UK.
TwentyCI says the largest number of closed branches were among SME estate agency businesses of between two and five branches, claiming that Covid has led many – like their retail neighbours – to re-assess what branch or store footprint they need and rationalise their business, despite the recent boom in sales.
Small independent agencies, which make up the rump of firms within the property industry, was the only group to see its numbers grow albeit it by only 0.3%.
There are currently some 5,044 of these independents, proving the robustness of the owner-operated approach that underpins many of them.
Other kinds of agencies have fared less well – SME agents saw some 156 branches close or 5.1% of their total, along with large agencies (-4.2%) and corporates (-3.6%).H
Hybrids hits worst
But worst hit was the online/hybrid sector. TwentyCI says seven companies (rather than branches) disappeared last year out of 89 in total, a 7.9% decline.
The research also reveals that the better known the name, the higher the average instruction price of an agency.
For example, online/hybrids instruct at an average of £299,195 while independents instruct at £344,416, SMEs at £349,005, large agencies at £376,140 and corporates at £467,454.
This is why it is independents who are the most vocal about hybrid estate agencies – quite often they are nipping at the bottom line in many areas of their market.