Almost 40 estate agents are going out of business every week owing to the slowdown in the housing market, according to property website Rightmove. Financial Times

The company on Tuesday said the retention rate for estate agents has declined to about 85 per cent, compared with 92% in 2007, as a result of an increase in agents ceasing trading.

This equates to about 150 branches going bust every month, mainly single-shop independent operators, as the slowdown in the housing market has frozen the volume of deals.