Some 81% of estate agents expect revenues to grow or stay the same next year despite growing concerns over the UK’s economic outlook, according to new analysis from Zoopla.
Its 2018 State of the Property Nation report, which surveyed 6,000 consumers and 660 estate and letting agents, offers a wide range of insights into the factors that most impact the property industry.
The report revealed that, when asked about the greatest challenge facing their business, 64% of agents cited the current economic and political situation, followed by a pressure to lower fees (51%) and then insufficient stock (49%).
With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit causing a slowdown in house price growth, 39% of agents expect prices to fall over the next 12 to 18 months.
What’s more, Hometrack, which is part of Zoopla, forecasts an average UK house price inflation of 2-3% in 2019 on flat sales volumes, while it expects the lettings market to continue to register more new lets than housing sales.
However, in the midst of economic uncertainty, the majority of agents remain optimistic that they will grow or sustain revenues across all business lines next year, with the exception of letting fees.
With a forthcoming tenant fee ban, 38% of letting agents expect revenue from lettings to decrease in 2019, while just over half (56%) think they will rise or stay the same. However, agents are more confident over growing revenue from property management services.
Zoopla also asked agents how they plan to counter the challenges ahead. The top three areas that agents are planning to focus on in 2019 are: increasing their use of technology and marketing, increasing their advice to and engagement with sellers and landlords, and expanding their service offering.
Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla’s property division, said despite the obvious challenges that estate and letting agents face, the majority are well-positioned to grow their business.
“From this year’s research we’ve seen strong alignment between our offering and how agents plan to improve the quality and volume of their leads and, ultimately, their instructions.”
He added: “Whether it’s better data and market insight, improved technology for back-office efficiency, smarter portal and software tools to boost vendor leads and generate additional revenue streams, Zoopla has a breadth of solutions agents need to succeed and keep ahead in a dynamic market environment.”