Third of buying agents disappear as deals dry up

Number of registered acquisition specialists in the UK has fallen by 33% in under two years

The number of buying agents registered with The Property Ombudsman has plummeted by a third in under two years, PrimeResi has learned.

The redress scheme set up a special code of practice for the sector in 2014 after estimating the total operating in the UK had spiralled to somewhere between 600 and 700.

The current tally now stands at a fraction of that – 364 – down from 547 in January last year. 497 were on the books just six months ago, but the drop-off appears to have accelerated dramatically as the UK’s prime market faces some of the strongest headwinds in a decade.

Research out this week from LCP showed just five £10m+ transactions were recorded by the Land Registry in the three months to August, a fall of 86% on the same period in 2015, when 35 such sales were officially lodged.

The deal drought hasn’t been confined to the super-prime range either. Sales volumes in Q2 were down by 42% across prime London compared with the same quarter the year before, according to LonRes.

That’s not a lot of potential clients to go round, and it seems many operators have simply decided to throw in the towel. Ironically, it’s during markets like this when buyers most need expert representation, and you can find out who has real staying power when PrimeResi releases the much-anticipated 2016/17 Prime Movers: Buying Agencies rundown on Monday. More here.