· Customer preference may shift away from cities, forcing agencies to diversify their offering
· Understanding you customers will be increasingly pivotal, with a new generation of buyers entering the market
· Every lead will become more valuable, with the number of transactions decreasing after the end of the UK’s stamp duty holiday
2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges, and few of us will mourn its passing. But with the stirrings of a newly mutated form of COVID-19 and the looming implications of Brexit, we should hardly expect 2021 to be plain sailing either.
Estate and lettings agencies will have to respond to many new challenges in the coming year, and in this article we’re going to look at five trends we might see emerging.
1. Migration from cities
With the continuing challenges of COVID-19 and the impact of Brexit, many experts expect big cities to take further hits in 2021, as much of their allure is diminished by a struggling economy and further restrictions to socialising.
The deeper implication of this is both buyers and renters may start looking at properties differently, meaning agencies have to alter their sales approach.
Data will help agencies to make sense of these changes and adapt their messaging to be more responsive to customers’ and clients’ needs.
2. Millennial buyers
Realtor.com estimates that the number of yearly mortgage originations will increase by 50% for millennials by the spring of 2021, marking another substantial change to the makeup of the buyer pool.
The relatively strong performance of property during the pandemic has given millennials greater confidence, and if interest rates remain low, we should expect a substantial increase in buyers below the age of 40.
A major challenge for agencies will be understanding this generation of buyers and giving them the kind of customer experience they desire.
Partly, this will be about digital: this is the first group of true ‘digital nomads’ to enter the market, and this means agencies will need to be more responsive and offer more personalised communications to satisfy the customer base.
3. Virtual viewings
While virtual viewings have become more popular during 2020, the new year will likely see greater weight put on agencies to deliver truly high-quality experiences in this area.
There are any number of ways agencies might deliver such experiences: through high-quality video or improve website interfaces. The key is to make things as easy as possible for the buyer.
Being able to market such virtual viewings or videos effectively will create a huge advantage for agencies, and will help create a vital sense of consistency across this tricky new touchpoint.
4. Limited lead generation
Many experts predict a significant slowing of transactions following the end of the stamp-duty holiday, and agencies should be prepared for a potential dip in lead generation through 2021.
The impact of this will be simple: every lead will be more valuable. There is every opportunity for agencies to actually grow their market throughout this slowing of custom, by beating the competition with greater customer experience and more impressive offerings.
Because so much of the battle for leads now depends on digital media, it will be down to speed of response, digital marketing strategies and expert leadership to really drive these victories.
5. Resource efficiency
With agencies pushed tighter, and different regions seeing differing impact from the pandemic, we should expect agencies to continue their trend of consolidating and improving efficiency.
This may be the defining question of 2021: how will your agency become more efficient?
The most successful agencies will be those that are smart about their use of resources, embracing automation and forging a lean strategy that puts customer experience and lead generation above all else.
Conclusion | Looking forward to growth
We’ve had an exceptional year at Active Agent, and we’re extremely excited to push our offering further in the new year.
We’ve always been open about our desire to continually expand the platform’s capacities and break even more new ground for our clients, so we look forward to seeing what 2021 brings and finding ways to help agencies adapt to it with style