The U.K. real estate marketplace has seen a growing proportion of property sale transactions for self-employed agents but the market share for online and hybrid portals continues to decline.

The latest Property and Homemover Report from property intelligence provider Twenty EA, part of the TwentyCi Group, shows that exchanges within the hybrid sector, which includes companies like PurpleBricks, and Strike has fallen to 5.2% in Q12024, down from 6.5% in Q12023.

The data shows that the decline is increasing faster in higher value properties, but also evident among properties valued at £200,000 or less. The hybrid sector’s peak market share was 8.2% of exchanges in 2019.

Within the hybrid sector, the proportion of exchanges made by self-employed agents increased to 34% of new instructions in Q12024 across all hybrid agents, up from 25% from the same period last year.

Twenty EA categorises self-employed agents as those who don’t have a physical branch. They often work under organizations such as Exp or IAD and run their own operating patch, with a percentage of their earnings going to head office and they receive some equipment and resource support but are fully responsible for how they run their businesses.

In total, hybrid agents launched 5% of all new instructions in Q12024, down from 5.9% year-on-year, a fall of 15% but within this total the proportion of new instructions launched by self-employed agents reached 1.7%, an 18% increase from Q12023.

“Self-employed agents continued to gain momentum year-on-year despite hybrid agents continuing to lose market share overall,” said Katy Billany, executive director of TwentyEA.

“Currently we do not see hybrid agents posing a significant challenge to traditional high-street agents but that could change if the self-employed model continues to grow in popularity.”

In January,  separate research from Twenty EA found almost 5,000 high street sales and lettings agent branches closed in 2023 and many brands shuttered their businesses, while the number of self-employed agents grew by 16%.

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