London estate agents earn more per hour than City solicitors, private medical consultants and top surgeons. Yes, really.

The more young Londoners struggle to buy their first home, the fatter estate agents get selling homes to the rich. So no surprise that 2014 was a bumper year for estate agents in the capital, with fees totalling  £1.1 billion, a massive 23 per cent increase on 2013.

With the average fee per sale now nudging £10,000, it does not take many sales to keep traditional agents in luxury, new research carried out by online estate agents HouseSimple has found. Not surprisingly, London’s richest borough, Kensington & Chelsea, came top for fees earned, with street estate agents raking in more than £73 million in commission in 2014 alone, up 16 percent  on the previous year.

A close second came the City of Westminster, with more than £70 million in fees earned by estate agents.The biggest increase in agents’ fees was in Newham, where they jumped up 55 percent from 2013 and Waltham Forest, where high street agents earned almost 49 per cent more commission last year than the previous year and in Barking & Dagenham fees rose by 44 per cent. No wonder first time buyers are suffering in what were one London’s most affordable areas.

Alex Gosling, managing director of online estate agents Housesimple.co.uk, said: “Properties in many London boroughs are practically selling themselves, and yet high street agents stubbornly keep their fee levels high. London home sellers paid agents on average almost £10,000 in fees on every property sale last year. Selling online would only have cost them £500.”

Other online agents agree – and so do I. It’s time to abandon the knee-jerk “let’s go to the estate agents” when a property needs to be sold. First ask yourself how much the fee would be and then ask yourself how long would it take you to earn that amount. Then speak to an online agent (yes, they are real people) before you decide whether to instruct a high street agent or try try to save a few thousand pounds!

Total fees earned by London estate agents in 2014 vs 2013.

Borough Fees earned by high street estate agents in 2013 (£) Fees earned by high street estate agents in 2014 (£) Increase in fees earned in 2014 (%)
Barking & Dagenham 8,114,213 11,732,303 44.6%
Barnet 37,687,483 43,378,617 15.1%
Bexley 16,411,917 21,433,837 30.6%
Brent 17,921,140 24,425,944 36.3%
Bromley 35,019,373 46,250,409 32.1%
Camden 41,285,091 46,308,063 12.2%
Croydon 26,047,384 37,090,855 42.4%
Ealing 28,447,715 29,228,087 2.7%
Enfield 19,017,336 24,095,714 26.7%
Greenwich 20,310,694 30,525,873 50.3%
Hackney 26,566,281 35,257,426 32.7%
Hammersmith & Fulham 39,263,698 43,199,486 10%
Haringey 21,704,029 27,270,299 25.7%
Harrow 16,768,890 19,505,600 16.3%
Havering 19,318,563 25,186,471 30.4%
Hillingdon 19,135,155 23,260,433 21.6%
Hounslow 18,184,131 22,328,806 22.8%
Islington 33,243,256 36,708,945 10.4%
Kensington & Chelsea 63,100,145 73,328,825 16.2%
Kingston upon Thames 19,666,912 24,844,617 26.3%
Lambeth 41,591,141 51,602,442 24.1%
Lewisham 25,993,778 33,812,807 30.1%
Merton 25,083,764 27,716,168 10.5%
Newham 11,366,423 17,600,037 54.8%
Redbridge 18,715,965 24,795,892 32.5%
Richmond upon Thames 38,270,825 42,231,825 10.6%
Southwark 37,658,774 41,537,220 10.3%
Sutton 16,398,675 20,928,325 27.6%
Tower Hamlets 34,894,658 49,578,205 42.1%
Waltham Forest 16,316,446 24,234,321 48.5%
Wandsworth 59,942,256 69,010,252 15.1%
Westminster 61,745,545 70,392,543 14%
TOTAL 915,191,655 1,118,800,656 +22.6%

The five London boroughs where high street agents earned the most fees in 2014:

Borough Fees earned by high street estate agents in 2013 (£) Fees earned by high street estate agents in 2014 (£) Increase in fees earned in 2014 vs 2013 (%)
Kensington & Chelsea 63,100,145 73,328,825 16.2%
Westminster 61,745,545 70,392,543 14%
Wandsworth 59,942,256 69,010,252 15.1%
Lambeth 41,591,141 51,602,442 24.1%
Tower Hamlets 34,894,658 49,578,205 42.1%
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