Since early 2020, when Coronavirus hit the UK, we tracked a very significant sample of Estate Agent and property websites, examining visitor levels over the last 2 years right up to this week. Our sample covers over 45 million website visits, across multiple UK property websites, and we matched Yomdel Live Chat engagement against these visitor levels.
As with our Property Sentiment Tracker, we established a pre-COVID-19 average level of activity for each measure, based upon the 62 weeks prior to the first March lockdown being imposed.
After an initial explosive rebound at the end of Lockdown 1, activity in the market remained well above levels seen in the previous 2 years. But even once seasonal trends kicked in by Autumn 2020, it was clear that a 'new normal' had emerged. Now well into 2021, the new consumer attitude and approach to the property market sees website visits running at an all time high!
Yet another mini resurgence in activity, but remember, this is from an already record high point! Set aside the weekly volatility, and the graphs clearly indicate this market shows no signs of calming down.
Demand is off the scale, and supply is doing its best to keep up as vendors see their opportunity. The market abounds with anecdotes of record sale speeds.
Pre-COVID-19 average is set at 100%, and clearly identifies market swings in 2019 and early 2020, followed by a Coronavirus crash.
But what has now become very clear is the irreversible increase in online consumer behaviour, evidenced by new all-time highs of website visit volumes, and Live Chat usage.
Whilst the stratospheric levels of Live Chat during first 2020 lockdown did calm down and some seasonality remerged, it was clear that higher 'new norms' had been found in website traffic and live chat usage.
But it is important to see beyond the numbers, and recognise that Coronavirus has changed overall approach to life and personal circumstances for a majority. Consumers have new priorities, now emerging in their approach to property ownership and home-moving.
Consumers have taken to online channels to get in touch with agents irrespective of house price trends, stamp duty threats, or indeed lockdown behavioural restrictions and it is a habit they are unlikely to reverse.
Higher visitor levels, and Live Chat usage levels bring new levels of customer expectation. Online service from a company's own website is now paramount to business success.
Simply put, more and more people are communicating and enquiring, from within a website visit, to achieve their needs, and the business winners will be those who respond at the highest levels.
We update this tracker regularly, so keep an eye on where the trend goes next!