Estate agents under pressure from market and online rivals

Multiple factors adding pressure
Multiple factors adding pressure

Estate agents could be next on the high street casualty list, with more set to experience financial difficulty as the housing market cools and online firms move onto their turf.

Experts at accountancy giant KPMG reckon that pressures on high street agents will come to a head in the second half of the year, piling further pain on town centres reeling from hundreds of retail store closures.

Blair Nimmo, KPMG’s head of restructuring in the UK, said: “High street estate agents are presently facing an unprecedented set of challenges.

“The rise of online-only agencies have combined with falling house prices, a general slowdown in sale activity and a raft of legislative changes, all of which have generated headwinds for your average high street agent.

“I would therefore not be surprised to see operators across this sector struggle over the second half of the year and beyond.”

Profits at the likes of Foxtons have come under intense pressure recently, with the London property market slowing considerably since the Brext vote.

Britain’s biggest listed estate agency Countrywide, which is behind Hamptons and Bairstow Eves, is also in full-blown crisis as it seeks to raise emergency funding.