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Homebuyers and sellers relying on traditional agents to negotiate trickier market conditions

The latest market analysis from London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, suggests that in increasingly difficult market conditions, homebuyers and sellers are turning to the expertise of the high street in order to make their move.

Benham and Reeves analysed Google search trend data on current estate agent search trends and their interest score, to see which have seen the largest uplift in activity over the last six months.

An interest score represents interest relative to maximum search popularity for any given time and place. The score does not refer to the overall number of searches, but rather a term’s popularity. A score of 100 indicates maximum popularity.

High street agents more searched for

The research shows that over the last six months, buyers and sellers have been increasingly searching for ‘high street estate agents’, with the term seeing a 24% increase between June and November of this year.

What’s more, the analysis by Benham and Reeves also shows that searches for high street estate agents have climbed by a huge 331% month on month.

Just one other estate agent related search term has seen an increase in the last six months, demonstrating the cooling market that has materialised due to higher mortgage rates, falling buyer demand and stagnating house prices.

Searches for the term ‘best estate agent’ have increased by 7% since June, also demonstrating that those who are pushing ahead with their plans to sell or buy are looking for the very best to help them do so.

Low fee agents less popular

Searches on ‘low fee’ are dwindling in popularity, falling by -47% in the last six months. Similarly, searches for low cost agents have also fallen by -22% during the same time period.

Market conditions favour high street agents

In the current climate homes take longer to sell, as demand has fallen sharply thanks to escalating mortgage rates.

This was mainly caused by the Bank of England hiking the base rate from 0.1% in December 2021 to 5.25% in August 2023, as it looked to get a handle on inflation.

In this slower climate sellers and buyers seem more inclined to turn to high street agents, who can spend more time and resources on marketing and selling a home, rather than using a cheap but hands-off online approach.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented:

“It’s clear that in cooling market conditions, the nation’s buyers and sellers are more interested in the tried and tested expertise of proper estate agents and less so in the more hands off approach taken by the online sector.

While traditional agents tend to charge more, they are far better positioned to help negotiate the tougher conditions of the current market and their ability to get a transaction through to completion is well worth the additional money spent in the long run.”

Estate agency search term/topic Jun 2023 ave Oct 2023 ave Nov 2023 ave 1 Month Change 6 Month Change
High street estate agent 34.00 9.75 42.00 331% 24%
Best estate agent 54.00 68.25 58.00 -15% 7%
Fast sale (estate agent – Real Estate Agencies category) 15.50 19.25 14.50 -25% -6%
Low cost (Real Estate Agencies category) 12.75 19.25 10.00 -48% -22%
Low fee (Real Estate Agencies category) 49.00 0.00 25.75 N/A -47%

Data sourced from Google Trends


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.