UK property is the end for estate agents

A shortage of first-time buyers on the UK property market could be responsible for cutting almost 3,000 estate agent jobs.

The predicted cull represents a dramatic fall in the amount of mortgage lending, which threatens to shed 10 per cent of the total UK workforce.

This is according to top housing experts, who predict cuts to the 30,000-strong workforce are likely to be the biggest since the housing crash in the early 1990s.

Although UK house prices have taken a recent marginal rise, the majority of indicators suggest they will adopt their own momentum of decline into 2005.

Experts indicate that such a drop in the market will mean less activity for the estate agent and a knock-on effect of less demand for full-time positions.

"Jobs would go as the housing market cools – especially outside the London, in regions where there is no pressure on supply," said Saxon Brettell of researcher firm, Cambridge Econometrics. "None of this bodes well for estate agents."

The National Association of Estate Agents told the Observer that it was simply too early to tell, what would happen in 2005 because of recent interest rate rises.

Peter Bolton King of the NAEA commented how trade on the UK property market could pick up by Easter but acknowledged they had noted a sudden change in the market.

"We have been surprised by the suddenness of the downturn in the mortgage transactions. Some of our members are not rushing to replace staff."

Meanwhile, one City analyst suggested there could be several thousand fewer estate agents in one year from now, depending on how well the boom years had treated estate agents.

He said the property market would experience a fall of between 20 and 30 per cent, suggesting a continual slump from the current level.

The estimate coincides with figures released on Friday, which shows the Halifax to be forecasting the first annual fall in house prices for 15 years.

The Bank of England is expected to meet later this week, with the Shadow MPC already urging rates to be kept on hold.

Some members however predict sterling's rise against the dollar could soon force the Bank to cut rates from its current 4.75 per cent.


6th December 2004

Related News

Latest News