Online Estate Agent Review 2018: Purplebricks & Yopa Show Largest Gains

The State Of Online Estate Agents
In what has been a rollercoaster of a year for online estate agents, some agents look set to benefit from the demise of Emoov and Tepilo.

We’ve been monitoring the property listings across 16 of the most popular online estate agents throughout the year. Taking a snapshot of active listings on Zoopla each month, here’s our review of the state of the online estate agency market in 2018:

The State Of Online Estate Agents Infographic

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Yopa & Purplebricks Grew Their Share Of The Market

According to our data, Purplebricks tightened their vice-like grip on the online market, growing their share among the top agents from 53.2% in January to 59.3% in December, a gain of 6.2%.

However, up until December, their share had remained relatively static throughout the year indicating that is they who potentially have gained the most from the administration of Emoov and Tepilo.

The true success story of the year, then, may actually be Yopa. With a share of 9.6% in January, this had grown to 15% by December, a gain of 5.4%.

While this may a slightly smaller gain than Purplebricks, it appears to be less influenced by Emoov and Tepilo dropping out of the market as it has been steadily increasing throughout the year.

However, as Purplebricks have around 4 times the number of listings as Yopa, the more interesting race may be the one for second place.

Operating with a model which much more closely resembles a traditional high street agent, Express Estate Agency sit closely behind Yopa with a 12.8% share of the top online agents.

While Yopa look to be gathering pace, you cannot write off those chasing behind.

The Big 8 Still Control The Market (Even After They Became The Big 6)

We started 2018 with a ‘Big 8’ as far as online estate agents go – Purplebricks, Yopa, Emoov, Express Estate Agency, Tepilo, House Network, Housesimple, and Doorsteps.

Between them, they accounted for 95.7% of the online estate agency market in January.

By December they had shrunk to the ‘Big 6’ as Emoov and Tepilo folded, yet the overall market share of the big brands grew to 96.4% in December.

That suggests that consumers are increasingly turning to the brands they recognise despite the recent news about the difficulties faced by previously big brands such as Emoov and Tepilo.

Fixed-Fee Models Attract Higher Value Properties

Of the largest online estate agents, Express Estate Agency consistently had the lowest average asking price throughout the year with an average value as low as £255,639 in April.

Compare this to the highest average asking price that month of £370,124 (Tepilo) or the highest throughout the year of £384,332 in November (Emoov) and it suggests that Express Estate Agency tends to attract a different type of customer to the other online agents.

As the only agent in the list offering an exclusively commission-based pricing model that more closely reflects high street agents, those with higher value homes appear to be more attracted to the fixed-fee models offered by the vast majority of online agents.

This perhaps shouldn’t be surprising given that those who stand to save the most by using fixed-fee pricing models are those with the highest value properties to sell.

The data does not suggest any correlation between the value of homes and whether vendors prefer to pay upfront or on completion.

Housesimple Achieved The Lowest Average Listing Age

Though there are many factors that can affect the average listing age for an agent (including sale rate, new listing rate, contract length, etc), there were some agents that consistently achieved lower average listing ages than the rest.

Housesimple were the stand out performer, reaching a low of just 13 weeks in October. Meanwhile, Tepilo performed comparably poorer at 30 weeks in the same month, though this may be an indicator of the financial difficulties they were facing at the time.

September Was The Peak Of 2018 For Online Agents

Looking at the number of listings for each agent throughout the year, September appears to have been the busiest time with 43,848 active listings on the day the sample was taken.

Of these, 21,849 were listed by Purplebricks, in contrast, the lowest number was the 57 listed by I Am The Agent showing the significant gulf between those at the top and those at the bottom.

The slowest month for online agents came in January when there were just 31,570 active listings across all 16 agents that were analysed.

Purplebricks End The Year On Top (And By Some Distance)

So, as 2018 drew to a close, it was Purplebricks who continued to sit pretty at the top of the table.

When the number of active listings was taken on 28th December 2018, Purplebricks had almost 4 times the number of listings than its nearest rival, Yopa.

Closely following Yopa were Express Estate Agency who are still a little way ahead of the trio of Doorsteps.co.uk, Housesimple, and House Network.

There’s then another large gap to the smaller online agents in the top 10 list which makes it difficult to see how any agent not already achieving thousands of property listings will ever be able to challenge the larger players in the market.

It’s likely that as we head into 2019 we’ll see more of the smaller guys close up shop or get bought out by the bigger brands in the market.

But, as 2018 has shown, no one is safe.

Given the eye-watering sums of money the big brands continue to spend on advertising, we wouldn’t be surprised to see even the largest brands go to the same way as the likes of Emoov and Tepilo.

 

The raw data of this study can be downloaded here.

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