So much for the death of the high street? Top agents outperforming internet-only brands

Published : 5th June 2017


The UK’s top high-street agents have a better success rate and selling price than their online competitors, research claims.

The HomeOwners Alliance has added fuel to the fire of the high street versus online agency debate by looking at the success rate and prices achieved in both models.

Using its EstateAgent4Me comparison tool and looking at agency and Land Registry data over the past six months, online agents were found to have achieved 95.85% of their original asking price, compared with the national average of 95.69%.

However, the analysis also found that the top tier of high street agents, the top 1,000, still outperform online sellers, achieving an average selling price of 100.35% of their value.

High street agents also have a higher success rate, selling 82.42% of homes listed with them compared with 51.98% among internet-only brands.

When it comes to time on the market, the data suggests that online agents may be stronger. While the average UK home remained on the market for 60 days before a sale being agreed, according to the research, those listed with online agents were typically sold in 43 days. However, high street sellers overall have a higher success rate at 53.49% compared to 51.98% among the online firms.

Purplebricks was found to have a better success rate than other fee-first brands, at 61.5%. However, YOPA was the best performer in terms of achieving asking price with a rate of 97.07% on average. It also had the quickest average sale time at just 29 days.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “The performance of Britain’s online agents is impressive, and it is little wonder that they are shaking up the market.

“However, EstateAgent4Me’s data shows that there are still higher-performing high street agents out there, if sellers are prepared to invest the time and effort in finding them. Opting for the agent who offers the lowest rates of commission will rarely pay off.

“Sellers who look carefully at their local market before listing their home for sale will probably still be better off instructing the best high street agent in their area. But for those looking for a quick, easy sale with surprisingly high rewards, online agents are an excellent and rapidly-improving option.”

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “The research from HomeOwners Alliance shows sellers appreciate having access to different options when selling a home, and essentially it comes down to personal preference.

“We live in a digital age, and online estate agents may suit some people’s lifestyles. The important thing is choice, as others will always prefer to use a high street agent as they prefer the face-to-face interaction, so spending time researching the best option is crucial.

“Most people’s home is the biggest asset they have. Fundamentally, sellers want to build a great working relationship with their agent of choice and to trust that they are seeking to get the best price on the property and will provide great service.”