Estate agents are among the least-trusted professionals in the UK, ranking below both bankers and private landlords, new research shows.
According to the 2023 Ipsos Veracity Index, trust in estate agents remains low at just 28%, positioning them fifth from the bottom among professions.
This unchanged result indicates a persistent public wariness toward estate agents, underscoring a vital area for the industry to address.
Despite fluctuations in trust across various professions, the estate agency’s consistent placement near the lower end of the spectrum suggests a significant opportunity for the profession to rebuild and enhance public confidence.
Knowing these annual results were coming unchained.marketing conducted a survey between 8 December and 12 December 2023, with a sample size of 2,000 UK adults, unveiling nuanced perceptions of trust towards estate and letting agents nationwide.
The data indicates that most UK adults exhibit much higher levels of trust towards agents if they dealt with one, with 61% trusting them to a certain degree and 15% expressing high trust. 28% of adults have never interacted with an estate or letting agent.
Demographic insights reveal that trust levels vary notably across age groups, with younger adults (18-34 years) displaying the highest trust at 75% and 25% trusting agents a lot’ or ‘completely.’ This contrasts with the over 55 age group, where only 53% express some level of trust, and 13% trust agents a lot or completely. Trust declines with age.
The South West and East of England are leading the way regionally, with 67% and 66% of respondents expressing trust, respectively, followed closely by London at 65%. On the city scale, Southampton, Norwich, and Leeds top the list with 73%, 71%, and 66% trust levels. In contrast, the North East has the lowest regional trust level at 52%.
Among cities, Brighton exhibits the least trust at 52%, with Newcastle and Sheffield also reflecting lower trust levels at 53% and 54%.
These findings suggest significant regional and urban variances in public perception that could be reflective of local market conditions or the quality of service provided by the estate and letting professionals.
Homeownership status further influences trust, with 59% of outright owners and 73% of those with a mortgage trusting agents, compared to 65% of private tenants expressing trust in their letting agent. This suggests that the type of property ownership may impact the frequency and quality of agent interactions.
Simon Leadbetter, who has over two decades of global corporate experience working with a number of well-known estate agency brands, is the founder of unchained.marketing. He said: “Our findings present a complex picture of trust in the real estate industry.
“The IPSOS Mori results are the annual occasion for the industry to flagellate itself for low trust. But it is much more nuanced than that. Just as people dislike politicians collectively, they often trust their local MP if they have dealt with them. The same applies to estate and letting agents.
“So, we asked, ‘Thinking about your most recent interaction with an estate or letting agent, to what extent did you trust them to work in your best interest?’
“The differences in trust levels, especially when viewed through the lenses of age, geography, and homeownership status, underscore the need for the industry to address these discrepancies and build stronger relationships with all population segments.
“Our study also revealed a very low level of distrust in estate and letting agents across every demographic segment and region of the UK population. Notably, 15% of individuals aged 35 to 54 report a complete lack of trust in these professionals. Areas like the South East expressed the highest levels of distrust at only 17%.
“Individual estate and letting agents are doing okay, but the industry has a reputation issue.”
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