An increasing number of Londoners are using WhatsApp as a means for buying and selling their properties, as more users choose this platform for luxury house listings.
Messaging apps such as WhatsApp Business are being used more frequently in high-end private transactions, as additional functions available within the app have made it easier to share properties with multiple would-be buyers, while still keeping the listing discrete.
According to estate agents, Hamptons International, off-market home sales were at their highest in London in the last 3 months of 2022, accounting for 22% of transactions – the highest percentage on record.
Hamptons senior analyst, David Fell, believes sellers are using WhatsApp to prevent jeopardising future sales prospects; “Sellers have been increasingly looking to test pricing quietly without leaving a digital footprint, particularly if they chose to take their home off the market with a view to trying again in 6 or 12 months’ time,” he said.
An unforeseen e-commerce platform
WhatsApp is becoming an unforeseen e-commerce platform for estate agents, with private property sales almost tripling in London since 2018.
Estate agents have started using instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp Business as a faster, more efficient, and personal communication to talk to their customers. Meta, WhatsApp’s parent company, said “people want to do business the same way they chat with their friends and family.”
Features such as WhatsApp’s Catalogue, launched in late 2019, acts as a brochure for businesses to showcase photographs of various products to a wider audience as opposed to sending product photos one at a time.
High-end private transactions
James Myers, director of London-based prime real estate agency Oliver James, cited an increasing number of high-end private transactions are also being conducted via messaging tools like WhatsApp.
Savills estate agents added, the “anonymity” of such transactions is especially valued by buyers and sellers of properties in the £20 million-plus range — both in London and the surrounding counties.
“In the last quarter of 2022 in the home counties we did see the overwhelming majority of £20m+ sales being conducted off-market,” commented Crispin Holborow, country director of The Private Office at Savills.
Why does this matter?
With a noticeable increase in people using WhatsApp, the platform is proving to be a much easier method for estate agents to contact clients and customers. It is thought that in the future more people will use WhatsApp as a way to “test the water” of a house sale and gauge interest before listing on the open market. This trend is set to continue into 2024 and could potentially completely transform the way buyers sell houses in the future.Author spike.digital