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EYE NEWSFLASH: Revenue and profits power ahead at ZPG to hit new records

May 23, 2018

Revenue and profits at ZPG have shot up to record highs. The business announced revenue of almost £157m this morning, for the six months to the end of March, up 33% from the same period 12 months previously. EBITDA was also up, at £156.9m, a 41% increase on the same period a year ago. ZPG […]

Sales drop in almost all parts of the UK as spring in housing market fails to appear

Email to a friend Print Transactions plummeted in most of the UK last month, new HMRC data shows. Its figures shows sales in Northern Ireland were down 17.1% on a monthly basis to 1,880, while England saw a 13.6% drop to 72,500 and Wales was down 12% to 3,930. Scotland was the only region of […]

£99 online estate agent cuts price by £50 for landlords

An online estate agent which has been charging £99 for sellers to list on Rightmove and Zoopla has cut its price to £49 for landlords looking to let their properties. The new price allows landlords to list their properties on Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation. Landlords will also get other services included in their £49 package, […]

Foxtons in Mayor’s ‘name and shame’ list – but publicity material withholds name of firm on legal advice

Foxtons’ inclusion in a ‘name and shame’ list of ‘rogue’ letting agents and landlords was featured heavily yesterday. But bizarrely, in the press release telling journalists about the progress of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new blacklist, Foxtons was not actually named. City Hall contented itself with several references only to a “high street agent” that […]

Leaders Romans Group snaps up two high street independents – and is looking for more

The Leaders Romans Group has announced two new acquisitions. It has acquired sales and lettings firm Suttons City Living in Manchester and lettings specialist Dovetail in Bath. The former will become part of the 125-branch strong Leaders network, while the latter will be the latest addition to the Romans brand. Both companies will be merged […]

Are you a super-hero when it comes to delivering customer service?

If you or a colleague or your agency as a whole has delivered customer service that is beyond the call of duty, please could you let us know about it? Agent Kristjan Byfield is looking for examples. This is after he got into a Twitter spat with daily publication City AM a few weeks ago. […]

Abolition of tenancy fees charged by agents gets another step closer: But can ban get more draconian?

May 22, 2018

The second reading of the Tenant Fees Bill took place in the House of Commons yesterday evening. It was passed unanimously after a three-hour debate, and with MPs not having to enter a lobby to vote. Last-minute campaigning centred on moves to ensure that MPs understood the unintended consequences of a ban, which will cost […]

Local Property Expert reveals they just need ‘two appointments a day’ and then go home

EweMove says that its recruitment of Local Property Partners is now firmly under way. However, managing director Nick Neill has criticised the quality of some applicants who have experience of similar roles at other online firms. He said: “We have had applications from Local Property Experts at Purplebricks. “One approached us saying they did not […]

New ‘savvy’ firm tells sellers and buyers on Rightmove how they can have an ‘agent-free’ experience

A new firm is telling sellers that they can create their own Rightmove advert using an online template. Savvybricks charges £99 per month for “agent-free” selling. Users can get their advert on Rightmove within 24 hours, and have “total control over selling your property”. They communicate with potential buyers via the Savvybricks hub and negotiate […]

Watch out! There’s a Trading Standards officer about – today

Trading Standards teams across the UK are today supporting a special initiative in support of SAFEAgent Awareness Week. They will be looking to see how letting agents are adhering to legal requirements. Typically these involve unannounced visits to agency offices, with spot checks looking to see if agents are correctly displaying their fees, redress membership, […]

Lettings start-up Goodlord recognised by Mind charity for its mental health employment policies

Lettings platform Goodlord has become the first start-up company to be recognised by mental health organisation Mind, in its Workplace Wellbeing Awards. Goodlord is one of 74 companies featuring in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing index, and received a silver award. Goodlord’s Head of People, Hannah Keal, said: “I’m hugely proud to be announcing that Goodlord has […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Surprise new owner of Humberts is revealed

May 21, 2018

The new owner of Humberts has been announced. The buyer is a holiday lets business called Natural Retreats. The sale was handled by business recovery and restructuring business Begbies Traylor. All of Humberts’ business has been included in the sale, but the price has not been disclosed. Managing director Ian Westerling will stay with the […]

Two out of three new bosses appointed at Property Franchise Group leave in quick-succession departures

Email to a friend Print Two out of the three new bosses announced at The Property Franchise Group have left their positions within six months, it can be revealed. Last October, TPFG announced the appointments of Ellie Hall as managing director of Martin & Co, and of Graham Lock as managing director of the Xperience […]

Asking prices stretch to all-time high but ‘under offers’ shrink – and transactions plummet by a quarter

New asking prices have hit another all-time record high although the number of sales agreed so far this year has dwindled by 5.4% on a year ago, Rightmove reports this morning. Separately, another tracker of the market – LSL – said transactions plunged 25% in April, compared with March. According to Rightmove, in the south-east, […]

Hunters says it is doing better than expected as its network expands

Hunters is expecting to end the first half of this year slightly better than anticipated. In a trading update covering the first four months, chairman Kevin Hollinrake said: “So far this year we have signed nine new Hunters branches and have opened three. “The group has a strong pipeline of agreed sales and has increased […]

Belvoir stocks up its acquisition war chest with a new £17m borrowing deal

Franchising firm Belvoir has beefed up its growth strategy with an acquisition-related loan facility running into millions. The agreement, part of a new deal with HSBC, will allow Belvoir to snap up other franchise firms and also letting agencies which decide to call it a day once the tenants’ fee ban comes in. Altogether, the […]

Expansion for Reapit as it acquires Resource Techniques for undisclosed sum

Agency software supplier Reapit has acquired Resource Techniques, a firm which creates websites for agents. The acquisition is designed to strengthen Reapit’s market share in the UK. Resource Techniques will continue operating from its current headquarters in Hendon, west London. Reapit says it will be seeking to expand the range of website and online services […]

Buyer panned after publicising plans to pull out of house purchase or gazunder a week before exchange

May 18, 2018

A woman who posted on Mumsnet that she was planning on either pulling out of a house purchase or gazundering with a week to go, has been slated by fellow users. On the popular forum, she said she and her husband were 30-year-old first-time buyers. They had had their £440,000 offer accepted on the property […]

New boss of Martin & Co hits out at deposit replacement schemes, saying they will cost tenants more

The new managing director of Martin & Co has hit out at ‘zero’ tenancy deposit schemes. Louise Griffiths said she read with disbelief that the Government had taken notice of a select committee’s recommendations “and will encourage further innovation in the deposit free renting sector”. Griffiths told EYE: “The deposit is not money that an […]

Franchising firm slashes joining fee to just £1,000 to try and tempt struggling independents

Franchising business Century 21 UK is slashing its joining fee from £23,500 to £1,000. The deal runs until the end of June. Century 21, whose UK franchise is run by SDL Group, does not seem to need to cut its price to attract new franchisees. It claims it has experienced “phenomenal” growth recently and is […]

Foxtons investors shrug off gloomy news of ‘very challenging’ conditions in market

Foxtons shares enjoyed a good day on the stock market yesterday, despite the firm having earlier issued a gloomy trading update, saying that conditions in the London property market “remain very challenging”. The statement said that group revenue was £24.5m in the first quarter of this year, compared with £28.7m in the same period last […]

It’s a perfect match! How one agent is making the most of the Royal Wedding

London agent Marsh & Parsons has risen to the occasion of tomorrow’s big event with a new advert. It depicts Prince Harry and Megan (well, ish) gazing at their future, without a tricky relative in sight. The legend proudly declares: “Matching people and property in London for 45 royal weddings.” We haven’t counted, but Marsh […]

Complaints about agents to Ombudsman edge up as awards of almost £1.4m are made to consumers

May 17, 2018

Email to a friend Print Letting agents made up the bulk of complaints to The Property Ombudsman (TPO) last year as the number of issues raised by consumers rose. The TPO’s annual report for 2017, published today, reveals a 3% increase in complaints last year to 3,658, of which 2,212 – up 11% annually – […]

Market analyst claims ‘Yopa is spending over £500,000 to acquire each new listing’

Proptech expert Eddie Homes has expressed surprise at Yopa’s argument that it is already the second largest online agent behind Purplebricks, before any merger between Emoov and Tepilo. He has not queried that Yopa is in second place but said that the marginal cost to investors of the additional 41 listings they claimed is not […]

Tenant fees ban – Shelter keeps up the pressure as it demands new law goes further

Victory may be in sight for Shelter in terms of its campaign to have letting agents’ fees charged to tenants banned – but it is certainly not letting up the pressure and wants the ban to go further. In its latest blog, writer Chris Thorne claims there’s a loophole which will allow letting agents to […]

Red flag alerts – signs that the seller may be dodgy and NOT the owner

Yesterday on EYE, Rob Hailstone of Bold Legal Group posted that he had drawn up a list of ‘red flags’ for solicitors and agents to be aware of. This was in the context of our report on two cases of identity fraud where two different buyers had been duped out of their money by fake […]

No word of a lie! I was just being enthusiastic, says ex-Foxtons agent

A minor war erupted on Twitter yesterday between former Foxtons agent James Dearsley and housing pundit and buyers’ agent Henry Pryor, after Dearsley told how in the last downturn vendors and landlords would be ‘persuaded’ to cut their prices. Dearsley said: “I remember my ‘power hours’ with Foxtons where we would phone every vendor and […]

Court of Appeal ruling: Solicitors for fraudulent sellers ordered to compensate duped property buyers

May 16, 2018

Two cases where genuine purchasers bought properties through estate agents from fraudulent vendors have now had judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal. The court has essentially ruled that solicitors representing fraudulent property sellers should share the responsibility for any losses with solicitors acting for the defrauded buyers. In one of the cases, the […]

We’ve done it again! Property Industry Eye wins top accolade in property press awards

Property Industry Eye was last night announced as the top trade publication in the property press awards. This is for the second year running. We are, of course, delighted. We would like to thank our advertisers who have made and continue to make our daily publication financially viable, and all our readers – estate agents […]

No Agent launches HMO management service at around half the price

Rental platform No Agent has launched a fixed fee full-management product for landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation, which significantly under-cuts most high street agents fees. It costs just £35 per room per calendar month. The package includes free tenant find and gives landlords flexibility to choose additional bolt-ons such as a viewing packages and […]

Honestly, why does conveyancing take SO long? (Four months on average)

It was Michael Gove who famously said “I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts” but when it comes to those expressing opinions about why house buying and selling is so slow, we have to agree. As a company deep in the muck and bullets of the residential conveyancing front-line, […]

OnTheMarket launches first outdoor advertising campaign

OnTheMarket has launched its first outdoor advertising campaign which highlights the portal’s ‘new & exclusive’ properties. Displayed at rail and tube stations, bus stops, and in the streets, the hoardings are currently appearing at over 1,500 sites throughout London. Each poster carries the words: ‘OnTheMarket gets thousands of new properties every month, 24 hours or […]

Club charging monthly fees to members says it is not an agent letting to tenants

May 15, 2018

A membership club that rents rooms out is charging its members fees. However, it has hit back at claims in a national newspaper story and says it has found a new concept. Lettings fees charged to tenants are due to be banned, but the ban does not target membership fees charged to club members. Lifestyle […]

Zoopla could develop ‘direct to customer’ propositions in wake of £2.2bn takeover bid

Rightmove’s share price is forecast to rise to £53 in the wake of the £2.2bn Silver Lake bid for ZPG. Yesterday, Rightmove shares closed at nearly £48. Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas says that Rightmove offers “sustainable double digit structural growth, a rarity in European media”. The analysis, in a new note to investors, goes […]

Online agent Yopa says it is already bigger than Emoov and Tepilo combined

Online agent Yopa has challenged a claim in an EYE story that a merger of Tepilo and Emoov would put the new entity in second place behind Purplebricks and ready to mount a challenge. Yopa said that this is incorrect as it already has more properties than Emoov and Tepilo combined. It gave us these […]

EYE interview: Leading industry figure begs agents to wake up to the need for change – or risk extinction

Industry trainer and consultant Mike Day is marking 15 years since he founded Integra. But he has revealed that his original intention in 2003 was to set up what would now be called a hybrid agent. He agrees it was ahead of its time, but is still a huge believer in change – and the […]

New rent-to-rent business reveals plans to shake up online lettings sector

A new business which says it will shake up the online lettings sector has announced long-term plans to become the sector’s largest international brand. Residently operates a rent-to-rent model, telling landlords that by letting to it long-term, they are provided with a guaranteed income. For tenants, Residently will organise not just homes but services such […]

Property portal shares all start week trading at highs after £2.2bn bid for Zoopla

May 14, 2018

Email to a friend Print Share prices of the property portals start the week at new highs after the sale of ZPG for £2.2bn to an American equity company was announced on Friday. Shares in ZPG itself shot up during the day 30.6%, or 114.8p, to 490p. The 490p figure is significant as this was […]

OnTheMarket signs up 8,000 agency branches and has grown 45% since stock market float three months ago

OnTheMarket now has listing agreements with over 8,000 agent branches. Hitting the number means that it has now recruited 2,500 more offices since it floated on the stock market on February 9. The recruitment rate, at over 800 per month, compares with the 100-plus returnees to Zoopla per month, which ZPG announced last week. The […]

Bruce brothers who founded Purplebricks enter Sunday Times Rich List for first time

Michael and Kenny Bruce have been included in the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time. They are estimated to have wealth of £190m, placing them as the 630th wealthiest people in the UK – richer than the Duke of Marlborough, Sir Rod Stewart and Sir Tim Rice. The entry says: “Bruce brothers Michael, […]

Property market slowdown ‘rippling out from London and the south-east’

The market slowdown that began in London now seems to have spread beyond the south-east and east, to the east midlands and the south-west. In a pattern that may seem like a case of deja vu to a number of agents, the claim comes from the website Home, which takes its listings from the portals […]

Rental stock plummets by 40% on a year ago as costs and red tape ‘heaped’ on landlords

Rental stock is down 40% on a year ago across the haart chain. CEO Paul Smith blamed the number of restrictions and additional costs being “heaped” on landlords, saying that they are “certainly taking effect on the lettings market”. With supply down, rents have been pushed up 5% in the 12 months to the end […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: American equity firm bid to buy Zoopla is announced

May 11, 2018

A US-based private equity firm Silver Lake Management Company has agreed to buy ZPG for £2.2bn. Under the terms of the proposed deal, each ZPG shareholder would get 490p – around a 31% premium on the average price for the three months until May 10. In a joint statement, ZPG said the terms were “fair […]

Merger deal between online agents Emoov and Tepilo ‘set to go ahead within days’

Sources say that on-off talks about merging online agents Emoov and Tepilo are likely to result in a deal very shortly. The new, merged, company looks set to be run by Emoov, and not Tepilo, with the latter’s current owners Northern & Shell possibly wanting to take a back seat. The deal, when and if […]

Estate agency comparison website wins Channel 4 backing to launch TV advertising campaign

GetAgent, the data-driven estate agent comparison site, has today announced a “substantial” investment from Channel 4′s Capital Growth Fund. A media-for-equity deal, this will allow GetAgent to advertise itself to the millions of home owners watching channels such as Channel 4, E4, Dave, Alibi and many more through a ten-month TV campaign. The deal is […]

Small is beautiful in our eyes, says Property Franchise Group as it sets out plans to buy as many businesses as it can

The Property Franchise Group has said it wants to acquire as many businesses as possible – no matter what their size. It made its strategy clear after one of its franchisees, Emma Higgins of Martin & Co Yeovil, bought a portfolio of 185 tenanted managed properties from local agents Home-Bridge Property. TPFG has a policy […]

Agent hits back after demonstrators protest against purported tenant eviction

A Brighton agent has expressed concern that may have been misrepresented when local paper The Argus reported earlier this week that it had been picketed by protesters over an eviction notice served to a tenant. The Argus reported that Beverly Bishop, who had lived at the rented property in Brighton for almost two years with […]

Young couple seeking rental home claim discrimination because of their age

A young couple have claimed that they were told by a letting agent that they could not rent a home because they are under 25. They say the un-named agent, in Eastbourne, told them the landlord would not even allow them to view the property. Sadie Murphy, 20, who is 20-weeks pregnant and home-hunting with […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Emoov and Tepilo reported to be in £100m merger talks

May 10, 2018

Sky News is reporting that online agents Emoov and Tepilo are in talks about a merger that would result in a publicly quoted firm, set to challenge Purplebricks. Sky New said that the two companies are at an advanced stage of negotiations, with an agreement likely within days. The deal would involve the acquisition of […]

EYE Exclusive: New super £100m estate agency ‘to be formed’ out of independents seeking to amalgamate

Email to a friend Print A new major listed estate agency worth at least £100m is planned to be built, created from individual agents put together to form a large single group. The plan is to float the combined business within two years. The model appears to be to offer an alternative exit to owners […]