Almost 10 estate agents a week will go bust this year according to data from property management firm Apropos by DJ Alexander.
Apropos has analysed official data and found that 371 UK businesses involved in real estate activities have entered formal insolvency proceedings in the first nine months of 2019 which, if the trend continues, would equate to 498 for the entire year.
If the trend continues in the fourth quarter, the figures in England and Wales will equate to 464 estate agencies entering insolvency, which is the highest annual figure since 2014 when 522 real estate businesses went bust.
The Scottish figure is likely to be 30 for the year which, although it is almost double the 2018 figure of 17, is the second lowest annual number for the last decade indicating the sector is in reasonably good health in Scotland.
David Alexander, managing director of Apropos by DJ Alexander, said: “These figures highlight the impact that a declining high street coupled with a changing marketplace is having on the traditional estate agency sector.
“The problems faced by the high street are impacting on all businesses regardless of sector as we can see from the recent closure of Thomas Cook, the problems facing Mothercare, and the numerous restaurant chains which have closed their doors over the last year. These are issues of long leases, high rents and rates and declining footfall.”
He added: “The days when estate agents had an office on every High Street have gone but the need for personal service remains high. Clients still want the meet and greet personal experience but backed up by a powerful, innovative online platform available 24 hours a day to answer their questions and meet their immediate needs.
“The property investment market has changed dramatically over the last few years and letting agents must also change dramatically. It is clear that the professional, large scale investor is remaining in the market, but the next few years will continue the trend for the smaller ‘amateur’ landlords to exit the market as letting becomes costlier and more complex.”