The battle for Elephant and Castle – do we need more estate agents?

Photo: © Thinglass |

Photo: © Thinglass |

Campaigners at the Elephant and Castle are trying to stop the pub that gave the area its name being turned into a branch of the estate agency Foxtons. The site has been re-developed over the years so the current building could not be described as historic, but a pub has stood on the site for around 250 years.

Foxtons has put forward plans to turn the rather dilapidated building into an estate agency but has been met with a hostile response by a number of local residents, and squatters have now occupied the building.

Foxtons has 3 branches in the borough and another in Brixton, less than 3 miles away. But is there a shortage of estate agents in this area of London? Urbs decided to look at some data.

The largest property portal in the UK is Rightmove. It lists many but not all estate agents, so while it under-estimates total numbers it provides a baseline for comparison. Using Rightmove’s search tool we checked the number of sales and letting agents in Southwark. There are 141. In neighbouring Lambeth there are 126 and in Lewisham to the east there are 98.

London, you’ll probably not be surprised to hear, is really rather well served for estate agents. The largest number is in Westminster with 310 according to Rightmove, but outside of the centre Wandsworth takes the crown with 237 agents listed

estate agents

The total listings for London were 4,111. In comparison, Greater Manchester has 862 and the West Midlands 753. London has a much larger population that these urban areas, but if you use a ratio of estate agents to households London has 1 agent for every 800 households, in Greater Manchester it’s 1 for every 1,300 and in the West Midlands it is 1 for every 3000 households.

As our map reveals, if you want to avoid estate agents in London best move to Barking and Dagenham, if you can find someone to sell or let you a home, that is.

See also

Help to Buy offers little help for those seeking a home in London

Urban chic or leafy charm? Inner city rentals catch up with affluent areas