Yopa reports share gains in listings and a huge increase in buyer registrations both during and since the lockdown restrictions lifted for estate agents in England. The full-service estate agent has weathered the Covid-19 storm thanks to technological advancements, flexible working and an attractive fee structure.

  • #2 for share of new listings across both April and May 2020, vs #7 at the start of the year*
  • listed more properties during lockdown than all other hybrid agents combined, excluding Purple Bricks
  • 452% increase in registered buyers in May 2020 vs April 2020
  • 4.1ppt increase in conversions from May 2019 to May 2020**
  • 67% increase in instructions in first week of June 2020 vs first week of June 2019

On the company’s resilience, Yopa’s Chairman Grenville Turner said:

“We took steps in late February into early March to ensure we were prepared should the country go into lockdown and the market conditions deteriorate.”

Propp – MPU

“As a priority, we ensured our teams – from the central office and contact centre staff to local agents – were fully briefed and equipped to work from home by 17th March. By 24th March, when the UK lockdown was implemented, all staff were working from home and our contact centre staff were only booking virtual valuations and viewings.”

“To have shifted our operations so swiftly is a genuine credit to the team, and Yopa’s model allowed for this all-important resilience. Without high street offices to worry about, we were able to quickly ensure that all our agents were set up to offer full support to customers when they needed us most.”

“We developed a programme of advice for agents and customers – existing and prospective – to help keep home sales moving whilst ensuring we played our part in keeping the UK as safe as possible. This included more advice on virtual valuations and viewings, customer-led photography, the offer of a Yopa Open House weekend at a safe point in the future, and a content series for vendors to get their homes ready for future sale. We continue to offer this extended service in part because our customers have been so receptive to it and as a ‘just in case’ in the event of a second lockdown. Perhaps this will be our industry’s future, and we welcome and embrace that innovation.”

“We also widened diary slots so that both buyers and vendors could book secondary physical appointments once the Government began to ease lockdown and customers felt it was safe to meet with their local Yopa agent in person. This enabled us to sprint out of the stocks once the restrictions were lifted in England on 13th May.”

“Recognising that, as franchisees, our local Yopa agents income would be severely impacted by the market shrinkage and the uncertainty around government support for the self-employed, we took the decision to support our business partners financially beyond the realms of their licence agreements. We think this attitude, alongside our general approach in developing a cohort of entrepreneurial estate agents, is in part why we’re generating so much job interest from experienced high street agents. Further, our agent tenure has increased over 85% year on year.”

“Part of our success over the period can be attributed to our flexible fee structure. Vendors could choose between our best value Pay Upfront model or deferred payment options – in fact, we extended our Pay Later option from ten months to 12 to provide additional support to our customers during a time of great financial uncertainty. We did see a swing towards our deferred fee options, but this is now returning to pre-Covid-19 levels.”

“Visits to the portals were at an all-time-high during the lockdown period. These early decisions by Yopa meant that our vendors’ properties were seen online by millions of hungry buyers, and we were able to book in 323 virtual viewing appointments at the height of lockdown. We’re delighted to see that the decisions we took before lockdown have turned into real results for our customers with a sales rate of 87%^.”

“It’s already clear that the market is returning to more normal levels, with Yopa reporting a whopping month-on-month increase of 452% in registered buyers in May – a great time for vendors to list given buyers have been thwarted by Brexit, an election and now a pandemic. This buyer appetite has helped to drive the seismic shift in instructions month on month, with our strongest start to a month ever in June.”

“All of this effort, agility and adaptability meant we jumped to the number two spot across the industry for share of listings in May and, whilst we of course acknowledge that the category was severely contracted at that time with many agencies furloughed or unable to operate, we believe we are in a great position to build on this success now that restrictions are easing across the UK.”

“The fundamentals of the housing market were strong before the lockdown began, but the size and speed of the recovery that is now beginning will depend on the effect of the lockdown on unemployment levels, consumer confidence, and the availability of mortgages. Yopa will continue to adapt in line with the changing dynamics of the home-moving market. We’re incredibly proud of all the team for being so adaptable and relentless in serving our buyers and sellers over such a difficult time for us all.”

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