Property professionals in Plymouth have pledged to do everything in their power to champion the cause of the independent, High Street estate agent in 2019.
Plymouth Area Property Professionals Association (PAPPA) is ready to face down the market challenges that may lie ahead next year, particularly in terms of the Brexit uncertainty and the rise of the ‘online only’ agency.
But PAPPA chair Ben Dreher, a Director at Mansbridge Balment Plymouth, said that many customers still see the value of the traditional estate agency model – and he expects them to be powerful allies in the campaign ahead.
“The principles of honesty and integrity that lie at the heart of every traditional agent’s ethos, agents that are firmly rooted in their local community with a very visible presence, still matter greatly to people, I am certain of that,” said Ben.
“Every one of our members is deeply committed to the traditional business model that has been a part of our industry for generations and they take great pride in the accreditations they each must have to be a part of our organisation.
“It is a dedication to professionalism and the customer experience that we firmly believe people will pay for and therefore we must not be frightened about the fees we charge. They are there because we are, quite simply, very good at what we do.”
It would appear that survey figures revealed last month support that notion too. Research carried out by estate agency analyst Andrew Stanton found that online agencies accounted for a fraction of the properties marketed in the last 12 months – just 100,000 out of a total of 1.5 million homes.
Ben admitted that the past year had been marked by more peaks and troughs than usual in terms of sales activity, with a noticeable slowing down in the last quarter, but he and fellow PAPPA members remain very optimistic about the year ahead.
“Yes there have been challenges, but equally there has been much to celebrate this year too,” said Ben.
“First time buyers continued to take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme and the Chancellor’s £650 million Budget boost to rejuvenate the High Street, coupled with the business rates relief for small firms, was great news too.
“Although the Brexit issue remains unresolved, there is every suggestion that most people aren’t allowing that uncertainty to dent their confidence. They remain positive – as we at PAPPA do too.”