Suttons City Living Blog - Property Gossip

Powered By
Powered By Property Industry Eye

Surveyors’ gloom as agents have yet to see the market spring back into life

May 10, 2018

Average stock levels on estate agency books have remained “within a whisker” of the record lows set in February, surveyors claim. The latest RICS Residential Market Survey for April shows there were an average of 42.2 properties per branch during April, close to the record low of just under 42 and raising questions of whether […]

Drama as man produces knife in estate agency and threatens bloodbath

Police were called to an estate and letting agency where a man had produced a knife, barricaded the doors and threatened a bloodbath. The incident happened in Warrington and came to light in a tweet by Warrington Police, who did not name the agent concerned. The tweet said: “Officers were earlier deployed to a letting […]

Branches returning to Zoopla at rate of over 100 per month

ZPG has reported that more than 100 branches per month on average returned to its platform during the three months since OnTheMarket dropped its one-other portal rule in February. The rate of branches returning to ZPG during the three months following OTM’s stock market flotation more than doubled the rate in the preceding three months […]

Lomond’s big buying spree continues as it snaps up yet another independent

Property group Lomond Capital is continuing to buy up agencies the length of England and Scotland, from Aberdeen to the south coast. It has just announced the acquisition of Bonett’s Estate and Lettings Agents in Brighton, bringing the number of properties under its management in the region to 1,650. The deal follows Lomond’s purchase of […]

Storm of complaints as Purplebricks starts to brings property management service in-house

May 9, 2018

Tenants and landlords have taken to social media en masse to voice angry complaints against Purplebricks’ property management service. Until now, this has been provided on a white-labelled basis by a number of high street firms, although customers have only known the service as Purplebricks. The agents still providing it are now coming to the […]

House prices tumble over 3% in biggest monthly fall for almost eight years

House prices tumbled by 3.1% between March and April. It was the largest monthly drop since September 2010. The Halifax House Price Index revealed that average values fell on a monthly basis during April, after a 1.6% rise in March, to £220,962. Annual growth also slowed from 2.7% to 2.2%. Russell Galley, managing director at […]

Property buying agent launches divorce service to help when couples are at war over worth of their homes

A buying agency is launching a divorce service, designed to help warring – and super-wealthy – couples deal with property issues, including how much the injured party should ask for in court. Black Brick’s new independent service will provide specialist pre-court advice for the divorce market on property prices as well as how much homes […]

Marsh & Parsons’ boss David Brown steps down after sterling career with parent firm LSL

London firm Marsh & Parsons has a new CEO as of today. Leading industry figure David Brown is retiring and is succeeded by Patrick Littlemore, who has been with Marsh & Parsons since before its acquisition by LSL. Brown took over as Marsh & Parsons’ CEO when Peter Rollings stood down in 2016, after the […]

Estate agency tells advertising watchdog it will remove claim about its longevity

A complaint against an estate agent has been informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority. A complainant challenged whether a claim that the business was established in 1932 could be substantiated. After the ASA approached the business with its concerns, Lovelle Estate Agencies agreed to remove the claim. According to Companies House, Lovelle Estate Agencies […]

Attempts to ‘professionalise’ industry by licensing will create a cartel, warns top entrepreneur

May 8, 2018

Email to a friend Print One of the country’s best known entrepreneurs has warned that the Government’s attempts to ‘professionalise’ estate agency will reduce competition and make it more expensive for consumers. Luke Johnson, whose previous business ventures include Pizza Express and the Ivy, also said that the move would play into the hands of […]

Online agents take more market share as they battle it out for second place behind Purplebricks

The market share of online agents is growing – and the race for second place is on. But, questions commentator Mike DelPrete, is it a race worth winning? In his latest analysis, DelPrete looks at listings by five agents and finds that Purplebricks is effortlessly dominant, while both Yopa and Emoov had had “strong gains” […]

Shareholders unite in protest against re-election of Rightmove chairman

Investors in Rightmove mounted something of a shareholder rebellion when almost 39% voted against the re-election of chairman Scott Forbes. The re-election of senior independent director Peter Williams was also opposed by 37.3% at the annual general meeting. A number of shareholders abstained. The protests were about so called ‘over-boarding’, where highly paid board members […]

Region where a ‘spate’ of estate agencies are going out of business

There appears to have been “a spate” of estate agencies going out of business in Norfolk, newspaper readers have been told. The Eastern Daily Press has carried what appears to be a timely article offering advice to vendors when an estate agency shuts up shop. Nick Taylor, of Hadley Taylor, and Aidan Branch, of Durrants, […]

One in three borrowers paying too much for their mortgage, says regulator

Almost one in three borrowers are paying too much for their mortgage. A new report by the Financial Conduct Authority says that around 30% fail to find the cheapest mortgage. The FCA said there is also “no easy way” for consumers to be confident that they would qualify for a mortgage – and that this […]

Boss of troubled firm Humberts says staff pensions are safe – and reveals cause of the crisis

May 4, 2018

Email to a friend Print The boss of troubled Humberts has said that the pensions of staff are safe. The firm made some 50 people redundant last Friday – unable to pay them for April and, we understand, their commissions for March – and EYE had been told of concerns about their pensions after a […]

Tenant fee ban could cost my firm £10m a year in lost revenue – so has the Government got its figures wrong?

When my company, The Property Franchise Group, presented our 2017 results to the city, we also took the opportunity to update investors on the impact a tenant fee ban would have on our group. The impact over a full year would see a loss of revenue of £10m. With an expected implementation date roughly a […]

Client Money Protection to be compulsory for all letting agents in England from next April

Compulsory Client Money Protection will be the law from next April 1. Yesterday, the Government laid regulation which, if approved by Parliament, will require all letting agents in England to have CMP. However, the timing of compulsory CMP throws some doubt on when the tenant fee ban will be implemented. Previously, the Government has said […]

Reapit and OnTheMarket collaborate to provide real time data feed for agents

Software firm Reapit is introducing a real time data feed for its clients to instantly upload their properties to OnTheMarket This feed will also be available to JET clients – Reapit’s reseller to smaller agencies. Reapit and OnTheMarket will shortly start to migrate their shared clients to the new feed. This will be done individually […]

Shares in Rightmove hit a new record high as company is valued at almost £4.2bn

Rightmove shares hit a high this week, of 4,579p, giving the company a market cap of almost £4.2bn. The price was achieved on Wednesday. Yesterday, the shares closed a whisker down, at 4,567p. Other property share prices have been stable, despite the announcement on Wednesday afternoon of the Tenant Fees Bill and its likely effect […]

Countrywide confirms that key compliance figure has left ahead of data management changes

A senior figure at Countrywide has left the business. Grant Dempster’s departure was confirmed yesterday, but no reason was given. He was in charge of risk and compliance at the UK’s largest estate agency. A brief statement from Countrywide said: “Countrywide can confirm that Grant Dempster has left the business. “We thank Grant for his […]

Agent escapes driving ban after speeding at almost twice the limit

An agent caught on camera speeding as she tried to get to work on time has been spared a possible driving ban. Nicole Robinson, 27, was doing 72mph in a 40mph zone, as she endeavoured to get to her job as a negotiator at Jordan Fishwick, in Manchester. She was driving her own BMW 116i […]

Tenant fees ban to cost agents up to £4bn plus job losses and closures, Government admits

May 3, 2018

The tenant fees ban will cost agents anywhere between £1bn and £4bn over the first ten years, the Government has said. In its impact statement released at the same time as the Tenant Fees Bill was introduced to Parliament, it said that in the first year alone of the ban, the cost to landlords will […]

Furious landlord makes his tax protest clear by placing billboard on busy main road

An infuriated landlord has put up a large billboard in a prominent street location to protest about Section 24. This is the tax change phasing out landlords’ ability to set mortgage interest costs against tax, while landlords will be taxed on turnover and not profit. David Heard, who has a portfolio of some 40 properties, […]

Many agents ‘frankly deserve to go the way of Humberts’, says housing pundit

Outspoken housing pundit Henry Pryor has criticised high street agents, suggesting they do little to proactively sell properties and that some deserve to fail. He said on Twitter: “No wonder new online agents are eating the high street firms. There is no innovation, no creativity, they are still giving the sales patter I was spouting […]

OnTheMarket hits milestone of 7,500 offices signed up and doubles sales team

OnTheMarket now has 7,500 agency offices signed up, it has told the stock exchange. That figure was the original – but unachieved – aim of OTM, which said it would be the ‘tipping point’ in its battle against Zoopla. However that was when OTM was still operating its ‘one other portal’ rule, which it dropped […]

allAgents relaunches property portal and says it will overtake OnTheMarket within a year

Revies site allAgents has relaunched its property portal and says it is aiming to make it the third most popular within 12 months, overtaking OnTheMarket. It is also considering making it an agent-owned portal, as was originally the case with OTM. The allAgents portal will include the ability for staff members to link their allAgents […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Tenant Fees Bill introduced into Parliament

May 2, 2018

The ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants is getting closer, with the Tenant Fees Bill introduced into Parliament this afternoon. The new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, James Brokenshire, has published it, saying that the ban will save tenants around £240m a year. The Bill will also seek to […]

Humberts admits it could not afford to pay redundant employees for their last month of work

Email to a friend Print Humberts has confirmed that it has made redundancies – and been unable to pay those employees for their last month. The actual number of redundancies has not been revealed but sources say about 50 people have been affected. It is also understood that those affected were told of their redundancies […]

Software firm claims major breakthrough as it makes automation available to Zoopla agents

Independent software provide VTUK is claiming a dramatic new breakthrough, which it says will bring pioneering automation and Artificial Intelligence not just to its own clients – but many more agents. Users of Zoopla software systems CFP and Vebra will be among the first to benefit, said the firm. It said it has now successfully […]

EweMove looks to round up a whole new flock of local property agents

EweMove is set to lock horns with Purplebricks, as it looks to recruit a whole new army of local property experts. In EweMove’s case, they are to be called Local Property Partners. As with Purplebricks, they will be self-employed. EweMove’s intention is to scale up its UK network rapidly, with a recruitment drive of local […]

Too many ombudsmen: ‘Just one is needed for whole of the housing market’

There should be just one ombudsman covering the whole of the housing market, including both private and social housing sectors plus new homes and builders’ maintenance and repairs. The call has come from Ombudsman Services: Property in a new report, Building Balance: Restoring power to consumers in the housing sector, out this morning. The organisation, […]

New leadership team takes position at Savills UK as firm prepares for next stage

New leadership has been put in place at Savills UK. James Sparrow becomes CEO and Richard Rees becomes managing director. The promotions have been well flagged and follow the announcement at the beginning of this year that its long-standing group CEO, the hugely successful Jeremy Helsby, is stepping down from his global role at the […]

New property portal offering homes to win says it is an estate agent with a difference

May 1, 2018

A new portal offering homes to win says it is identifying itself as an estate agent – but with a difference. Win-houses is offering vendors the opportunity to sell without having to pay commission. Win-houses founder and property developer Mark Lockhart said: “I’ve seen three major boom and busts in my time however, the property […]

GDPR: Are you in danger of reading what you want to read?

With the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) less than a month away, it is of the utmost importance that agents read between the lines when considering the most appropriate GDPR strategy for them. Many agents are in danger of reading what they want to read when it comes to the GDPR. This […]

Rent freedom day finally draws near after 86 working days

A year’s rent takes up all the net pay earned by full-time workers until now – the first week of May. This Thursday, May 3, is ‘rent freedom’ day in England. BBC News has worked out that in England, a middle-income earner would work 86 days to pay a year’s rent an average two-bedroom home […]

Opinion piece: Why has everything to do with housing become so hostile?

Hostile Environment. It is the catchphrase of a government that seems intent on wrecking the entire nation’s sense of security, including that of the unhoused, the improperly housed and the already housed. This lack of security provided by the Government has been underlined incessantly in recent weeks – just as local elections are due. Never […]

Surveyors warn of poor quality homes as a result of loose rules in office to residential conversions

Only a third of offices that have been converted into homes meet national space standards, research claims. Surveyor trade body RICS commissioned the University of Sheffield and University College London to look at the quality of offices that had been converted into homes under permitted development rights rules. The Government introduced permanent rules in 2016 […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Yet another new housing minister as Javid leaves for Home Office

April 30, 2018

The rapid turnover in housing ministers has continued this morning with Secretary of State Sajid Javid being appointed Home Secretary, to succeed Amber Rudd. Javid was the first housing minister with a seat in cabinet for many years. He is succeeded by James Brokenshire, who does not seem to have had a track record in […]

New start-up says its business model could spell the end for high street agents

Email to a friend Print A new start-up says that its model – which claims to charge vendors less while paying estate agents more – could see the end of high street agents. Moveli aims to have a network of local agents working across London. There will be no offices, with agents working out of […]

Vendor who posted negative review of Purplebricks says it was taken down for three days

A woman who tried to sell her home through Purplebricks posted a negative review on Trustpilot – only to have it removed. The woman, Laura, told of her experience on BBC 5 Live Investigates yesterday. She told presenter Adrian Goldberg that the property did not sell through Purplebricks, and that there was not a single […]

The Paul Smith column: Will Countrywide’s problems be over any time soon? It really doesn’t look like it

With the latest announcement that income is continuing to slide at Countrywide, a new revelation has emerged from the company’s recently-published annual accounts that appears to have been completely overlooked by commentators. The company appears to have a £275m ‘revolving credit facility’ along with a £60m ‘accordion facility’. It looks like any borrowings from these […]

Emoov’s Russell Quirk named in Sunday Times list of UK’s top 100 entrepreneurs

Russell Quirk, founder of online agent Emoov, has been named as one of the UK’s top 100 entrepreneurs. The Maserati 100 list was published yesterday in the Sunday Times. The citation says: “Estate agent Quirk, 50, started Emoov to try to rehabilitate the reputation of an unloved industry. “With fixed fees, face-to-face valuations and promises […]

Man who advertised spare room on flat share website went on to rape women

A man who rented his spare room to women and then raped them has been jailed for 18 years. Mamun Rashid, 30, of Tower Hamlets, London, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday. He will remain on the sex offenders register for life. Rashid was found guilty at the same court last month […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Humberts in talks with administrators amid confirmation of redundancies

April 27, 2018

Humberts, one of the country’s best known and longest established agency names, has confirmed it could be going into administration. The news follows speculation that managing director Ian Westerling had stepped down. Tonight, Westerling said: “Due to turbulent market conditions and pressures on the industry as whole, Humberts is currently in talks with proposed administrators […]

Exclusive: Tenants making more use of rent repayment orders than local councils in first year of new powers

Tenants have made more applications for rent repayment orders (RRO) against their landlord than local authorities in the first year of new powers that allow renters to initiate RROs, an EYE freedom of information request (FOI) has revealed. Previously, only local authorities could start RRO proceedings to recoup rent paid via housing benefit or universal […]

House sales revenue plunges over 15% at LSL with market more difficult than expected

Revenue from house sales at LSL was down 15.3% in the first quarter of this year, the firm has reported. LSL, parent company of brands including Reeds Rains, Your Move and Marsh & Parsons, said this reflected a more difficult market than expected. It also said the dip reflected the closure of eight branches in […]

This is what Rightmove is telling City analysts – and you can read all about it

Want to know what the City is told about Rightmove? Well, here is one nugget. In January 2010 the proportion of independent estate agency offices spending over £1,000 per month with Rightmove was 4%. In January this year, the figure was 45%. EYE has already carried a short summary from one of the analysts who […]

Estate agents escape criticism as consumers say how difficult it is to buy and sell

Estate agents are finally being cut some slack by one of their usual critics, consumer watchdog Which? The organisation often focuses on ‘rip-off’ commissions in the sector but now a survey by its broking arm actually paints agents in a positive light. Research by Which? Mortgage Advisers looked at the biggest issues reported during the […]

Government rushes out new advice on Right to Rent – but is it any help at all?

The Government has issued updated guidance about letting property to ‘Windrush’ people – long-term residents of the UK but who do not have documents to demonstrate their status. However, the short, one-page guidance on Right to Rent leaves key questions unanswered and has been called a “fudge” by housing lawyer David Smith. The guidance says […]

OnTheMarket outlines plans over next two years to close traffic and inventory gaps

April 26, 2018

Email to a friend Print OnTheMarket has told the City of its aggressive plans to recruit agents and ‘close the inventory gap’ between it and the incumbent portals, particularly Zoopla. At an investor lunch yesterday, CEO Ian Springett and CFO Clive Beattie outlined their plans. These include an aggressive recruitment drive of agents in the […]