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Only a fifth of buyers have used an estate agent as their first port of call when searching for a property in the past year, with almost six in ten relying first and foremost on portals.

Zoopla has released a report – Insights into New Homes Buyers 2018 – looking at what motivates people to buy a new-build in the UK, but which also unveils interesting data on the use of agents and ZPG’s competitors.

The report used a sample of 600 respondents who have either purchased a home in the past year or intend to do so,  and found the preference for resale homes versus new-build properties was split almost equally at 36% and 37% respectively, with 27% claiming no preference.

The majority, 57% of respondents, said they would use a property portal as their first port of call when searching for a home, compared with 19% for agents. This was made up of 9% who visited a high street agency branch, 7% who went through an agent’s website and 3% who used agent leaflets that had come through the door.

Just 9% of buyers start searching for a home by visiting an estate agency branch Commercial Finance Network

Broken down by type of property, 75% of buyers said they used a portal when researching for a new-build, while 82% did so for resale homes.

Almost half, 46% of buyers, consulted an agent’s website when looking for a resale property, but the figure dropped to 37% when it comes to new-builds.

The research also had a dig at ZPG’s competitors, finding that 64% browsed new homes and 47% bought after visiting Zoopla. In comparison, 53% did their research and 36% purchased after visiting Rightmove, with the figure dropping to 24% and 17% respectively for OnTheMarket.

Looking at appetite for new-builds, the report found families were the biggest audience for developers.

Almost half (47%) of respondents with families had the strongest preference for this property type compared with just 14% among empty-nesters. Couples with no children didn’t have any preference.

Respondents did however raise some concerns about new-builds, with 37% saying they could be too small and 21% worried about the location. Looking at the positives, 37% claimed the sales process for a new-build was easier and 32% said they cost less to run.

Chris Browne, sales director at ZPG’s new homes division, said: “When it comes to building and selling new homes, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work for developers.

“Our research reveals that buyers at different stages of life have clear, and differing, preferences for new homes and therefore developers need to keep their target market at the forefront of their mind – both when building and marketing these properties.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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