2024 will bring about the end of estate agency as we know it, in a good way.

There’s one thing that’s not in dispute: A fall in transaction volumes is bad for everyone who needs or wants to move house. It’s also bad for the multi-layered industry that makes it’s living from these transactions.

A painful but cathartic rebirth of the moving industry is underway.

Whatever happens to house prices as 2024 comes, whether they fall as far as some expect or not, we are in a deepening phase of stagnation for movers.

As the recession worsens, which it certainly will, fewer people will be moving for positive reasons.

Transaction trough.

The steep drop in transactions will prove fatal for many estate agency businesses large and small. (It already has).

When moving home is harder than it needs to be, it slows down the lives of people who want or need to move on.

This affects relationships, job prospects and family cohesion.

A thriving, busy moving market is healthy for everyone, as long as the cost of accommodation doesn’t get out of reach.

But for now we’re facing the lowest number of housing transactions for some time.

How did we get here?

The list is long, there are many contributing factors going all the way back to the 1970s. But after 30 years directly involved on a full time basis in the residential moving industry, one factor stands out over all the others:

Deliberate, intentional, rampant overvaluing by estate agents.

Many think this is out of greed or a desire to see prices rise, but that’s not the case.

The simple, single reason for overvaluing as policy, is to grab more market share than competitors. Nothing else.

And it worked, well, especially for the early adopters of this disingenuous practice in the 1990s.

But it became so widespread that it’s not only now considered normal, there are some agents who don’t know any other way to win business.

All addictions end badly

With very few, but notably brave exceptions, the whole industry has become addicted to overvaluing. Products have sprung up around the practice to support it.

And just like a drug addiction, as you do more, you need more to achieve the same results until eventually, it knocks you out.

This is what we are witnessing now, as 2023 comes to an end. The self-inflicted damage of decades of deliberate overvaluing coming home to roost.

As the collapse happens, it will take others with it.

HMLR: The Unwitting Enabler of this addiction.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Every estate agent in the country knows the price at which a property will exchange contracts before it happens.

So does the buyer, the seller, both of their conveyancers and the lender.

And yet with 6 separate parties to each transaction being in possession of the exact exchange price, it currently takes, on average, more than 12 months from when a sale is agreed for all property completion prices to be registered with His Majesty’s Land Registry.

The public does not gain access to official property prices until it’s much too late.

And it is this reporting time lag which enables the practice of overvaluing to exist. Without the time lag, this corrosive, cancerous practice would evaporate almost overnight.

Real Time Public Property Transaction Prices will solve the problem.

Transparency reveals the truth.

Truth leads to trust.

Trust in the industry will lead to more transactions.

More transactions is good for everyone, both at an individual level and for society as a whole.

Transparency in the housing market will be good for society as a whole.

BestAgent will bring transparency to the housing market.

So that’s why the plan is to use https://bestagent.co.uk to shine the blinding light of transparency onto the housing market, to flush out the dishonesty, to reveal the truthful, trustworthy agents and to make moving home easier, once and for all.

So, when the economy finally recovers, whenever that is, and people start moving in larger numbers again, if transparency of house prices exists, then overvaluing will be a thing of the past.

Good riddance.

People will know where they stand, moving home will be easier, social mobility will improve and the country will be better off.

Charlie Lamdin – 16 November 2023.

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