The biggest ever study of the British estate agency industry has been announced this morning, and is likely to involve 30,000 high street branches plus all the online and hybrid firms.

The study will involve analysing hundreds of thousands of data points, plus an enormous amount of mystery shopping.

The Property Academy has embarked on the assessment in a process that will take over six months to complete, and is being undertaken in conjunction with Rightmove.

Organiser of the initiative, Peter Knight, who recently drew curtains on The Sunday Times Estate and Lettings Agency of the Year Awards, said: “We could have continued to make incremental improvements to our established awards format, but we feel it is time for an ambitious step-change towards something totally new and far more inclusive.

“We have decided to undertake the first ever, independent appraisal of all estate agents. We will identify and shine a light on the very best and provide them with opportunities to stand out from the crowd. The search is already underway, with every estate and letting agency branch included.

“We are putting the customer experience at the heart of our criteria and are in the process of analysing hundreds of thousands of data points and conducting mystery shops involving tens of thousands of telephone and email enquiries.”

The Property Academy has teamed up with Rightmove for this new initiative.

Knight said: “We are very excited to be working closely with Rightmove on this initiative as our primary data source. Additionally they bring their market leading insight of the industry trends, issues and opportunities.”

Rightmove’s head of marketing Iain Kennedy said: “We’re excited to be partnering with the Property Academy and offering our market-leading tools and data to help with their ambitious new study that will recognise excellence in the industry.

“The appraisal will make use of Rightmove data from 25m interactions with agents and consumers, as well as reviewing the performance of over 4m individual property listings.”

In the next few months, a shortlist of the best performing agents will be published, from which the top 10% of branches will be announced and honoured at an event on 22nd September in London.

This will include a showcase of the very latest innovations and best practice in estate agency in addition to a conference with international award-winning speakers as well as industry experts from the UK and abroad, all focussing on business improvement and raising standards of customer service.

An exclusive, invitation-only event is being held next month, on March 28, to launch the initiative to industry supporters and suppliers.