Analysis: Huge spike in property adverts with virtual viewings and videos

There has been a huge spike in the number of Rightmove property adverts with virtual tours and videos over the last six months, according to analysis by Made Snappy.

The virtual tours provider analysed millions of residential sales and lettings Rightmove listings between November 2019 and May 2020.

Its findings show that the coronavirus pandemic has expedited agents’ uptake of visual aids in portal listings in recent weeks.

Made Snappy expects the inclusion of virtual tours on portal listings to increase further now the property market is back open for business. This is due to agents and consumers being required to limit contact and follow social distancing rules.

Tours here to stay as lettings activity rockets

The analysis shows that between mid-November last year and mid-May, the number of lettings adverts on Rightmove with virtual tours increased by 179%. Meanwhile, the number of lettings listings with videos increased by 280% during the same period.

Between mid-April – when lockdown measures were at their most severe – and mid-May as market activity has started to resume, the number of lettings listings with virtual tours increased by 44%, rising by 63% when it comes to listings with videos.

On the sales side, the number of property listings on Rightmove with virtual tours increased by 77% between mid-November and mid-May, while the number of adverts with videos increased by 50% over this six-month period.

What’s more, over the last few weeks the number of sales adverts with virtual tours has increased by 19%, alongside those with videos increasing by 26%.

“The lockdown has understandably forced more agents to embrace virtual tours, particularly on the lettings side. Our analysis also reflects the quicker restart of the lettings market compared to sales, which will be much slower to get started,” says Mark McCorrie, software director at Made Snappy.

“With the market now up and running, we expect the number of portal listings with virtual tours to increase even further as more agents will be operating at full capacity over the coming weeks.”

Saving agents time and money by filtering applicants

McCorrie explains that virtual tours allow agents to filter out applicants and only carry out in-person viewings with the most serious prospects. This stance has been echoed by the official government guidance issued on May 13, which suggests that consumers should use virtual viewings as a way to narrow down their search and decide on a final list of properties to view in person.

“Over the next period, agents and consumers will be more cautious about attending physical viewings, so virtual tours will continue to be absolutely crucial in the property search process,” he adds.

“We predict a 75% reduction in physical lettings viewings while social distance measures remain in place. We know of letting agents who have used virtual tours to filter down applicants, subsequently achieving a 100% success rate on the physical viewings – we expect this trend to become the norm.”

According to Made Snappy, agents will never go back to their old processes when they consider the time and cost savings they can make from using technology to make sure they only carry out in-person viewings with serious applicants.

“When you look at what it costs an agent to do a viewing in terms of mileage, wages, etc., being more efficient by reducing the number of fruitless viewings they carry out could save them thousands of pounds a year,” McCorrie concludes.