Spare a thought for the poor estate agents

The suspension of the residential property market is disheartening for those who were hoping to buy a first flat or new-build house this spring. But spare a thought also for estate agents, who are usually well back in the queue for public sympathy but are nevertheless a familiar part of our high-street fabric, their windows and websites feeding the national aspiration to home ownership that also fills so many hours of Kirstie-and-Phil television. With government urging completions to be deferred, mortgage lenders tightening their terms, viewings and removals impossible and shares in the bellwether London agency Foxtons down by half, the whole sector is now in what Niraj Shah of