"It’s very much business as usual for most"
A new survey conducted by cloud-based estate agency software provider, Dezrez, has found that 64% of estate agents haven’t developed a Brexit plan or strategy, and still do not see the need for one.
According to the 172 estate agents who took part, they have become more apathetic to Brexit since the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in June. At the time of the survey, 22% of estate agents saw ‘no need’ for a Brexit plan, with this figure increasing by over 40% as of November 2016.
Justin Morris, CEO, Dezrez, said: “What’s notable here is that, despite the general media sentiment, and doom and gloom stories in the media, the amount of estate agents with a Brexit strategy has technically reduced. When you consider that estate agents have not experienced Brexit-related fluctuations in the amount of buyers, or a change in house prices, it’s easy to understand their approach. It’s very much business as usual for most.”
Key findings include:
• Of those surveyed, 53% don’t believe Brexit has had any significant impact on their business to date, while 40% suggest say that Brexit has had some negative effect
• Similarly, 55% haven’t seen any change in property prices since the Brexit vote, while 37% suggest the vote has caused some turbulence in prices which has led to lost sales
• 60% say that there has been no change in the volume of first-time buyers since Brexit, while 17% have seen an increase
• Meanwhile, 65% suggest that there has been no change in the amount of foreign investors, while 10% have seen an increase
• 63% say they have seen similar levels of deal completion since Brexit, with 28% seeing a slightly higher proportion of withdrawals
The findings also suggest there is no clear picture amongst the estate agent community about which party – if any – has benefited most from Brexit. Buyers (33%) were thought to be the greatest beneficiaries, followed by sellers (10%), landlords (7%) and tenants (5%).
In the long term, only 23% of respondents believed that Brexit would have a long-term effect on their businesses, while 43% believed business would remain as usual, with 34% unsure of the effects.
Justin continued: “It’s fair to say there is still a picture of genuine uncertainty. Looking on the bright side, the vast majority are unaffected, with a relatively small proportion seeing negative Brexit-related effects. The key will be how the markets respond once Article 50 is triggered.”
What’s important is that estate agents don’t wait to see some effect. They need to be proactive. For instance, the technology sector is largely pursuing its aims of digital transformation as a means of future-proofing their business. We’ve seen similar signs amongst estate agents, who are seeking to integrate their online and bricks-and-mortar offerings to deliver a more comprehensive customer experience, while delivering a fuller suite of services such as integration with financial advisers. There are higher margins to be had for those who are thinking more laterally about their business, Brexit or not.”