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Fund manager Woodford maintains his belief in Purplebricks – despite rumours

September 14, 2017

Rumours that fund manager Neil Woodford last night looked to be bailing out of Purplebricks have turned out to be without substance. It could have raised serious question marks over investment into online agents generally and into Purplebricks in particular. Yesterday evening, after markets closed, Purplebricks issued a statement to the stock market detailing a […]

Chris Wood mounts bid to get NAEA election and AGM overturned

September 13, 2017

Email to a friend Print Chris Wood, whose application to be a vice-president of NAEA Propertymark earlier this year was blocked, has said he is going to seek to have the election overturned. Wood, a Cornish independent agent, says he will also seek to get June’s AGM overturned and to make the board subject to […]

Propertymark chief challenged to speak out when member agents are in hot water with ASA

An EYE reader has criticised Propertymark for allegedly not speaking up when its members get into hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority. However, Propertymark said it would not make public comment. Marketing specialist Malcolm Barnard has called on NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward to use the trade press to remind agents about good […]

Two more complaints about agents informally resolved by advertising watchdog

Email to a friend Print Complaints about two agents – both high street firms – have been informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority. Agent Michael Jones & Company, based in Worthing, West Sussex, was the subject of one complaint, where there was a challenge as to whether the following claims on the company’s website […]

Rent controls set to be introduced in two cities – a ‘step in right direction’ says politician

Email to a friend Print Rent controls look set to be reintroduced in the UK There is a proposal to bring in city-wide rent controls in Glasgow, while Edinburgh is likely to follow suit. In April the Scottish government announced that legislation would give councils powers to create rent controls in ‘rent pressure zones’. That […]

Franchisee, 27, acquires five-branch independent and takes on 35 new staff

A franchisee with three offices has completed the purchase of a five-branch business – tripling the size of his property portfolio and taking on 35 new staff. Mitul Gadhia, of Whitegates Leicester, has purchased Taylors, a well-established estate and lettings agency which has been operating since 1992 and which currently has five offices across Leicester […]

Average estate agent’s fee sinks to 1% – how low can it go?

September 12, 2017

The average estate agency fee has fallen to almost exactly 1% – and is likely to fall further, despite mounting costs for agents. Peter Knight, of the Property Academy, said that moving off the high street and/or going ‘hybrid’ would not be a solution for most agents because of their marketing and staffing costs. In […]

Outsourced viewings industry looks set to stay – and grow

The outsourced viewings industry looks to have established itself beyond doubt. One provider, Access2View, has announced its 50,000th accompanied viewing in just under five years. Ed Mead’s high-profile Viewber, now one year old, has already notched up 6,500 viewings. Jim Johnston, managing director of Access2View, said: “We’re proud to have hit this milestone. We’re an […]

New instructions drop almost 6% across UK year-on-year

New listings were down last month by almost 6% on August the year before, and down 13.1% on a monthly basis. Analysis of new listings on website Home has shown that in 100 UK towns and cities, supply dropped on a monthly basis in two thirds of places. The biggest falls were in Coventry (down […]

EYE’s Freedom of Information requests show collapse of self-build market despite claims

A Freedom of Information request by EYE to HMRC has revealed the astonishing shrinkage of the self-build market and highlights the uphill struggle of spin docors to make it meaningful in the context of the 1m new homes a year promised by the main parties. We asked the question because of attempts to talk the […]

Picture of the Week: And just look who’s under the stairs!

Picture of the Week – and it’s Pope John Paul II sitting in the cupboard under the stairs. The extraordinary sight forms part of the particulars of a property for short-term rent in central London. Without fear of contradiction, agents Kinleigh Folkard Hayward state: “We make no apologies that this property is not for everyone.” […]

NEWSFLASH: Way now clear for OnTheMarket stock market flotation to go ahead

September 11, 2017

The way has now been cleared for OnTheMarket to float on the stock market. Tomorrow the new members scheme – demutualising Agents’ Mutual – becomes effective. Ian Springett, chief executive of OnTheMarket, said: “The High Court of Justice Chancery Division this morning sanctioned the Members Scheme and the three Loan Note Schemes which were overwhelmingly […]

Whistleblower claims buyers who go with agent’s financial and conveyancing services are given £1,000 ‘bribe’

Email to a friend Print A whistleblower has told the Telegraph of dodgy practices used by a large chain which she says mean only the agents win while both seller and buyer lose out. One of the practices alleged is offering buyers a £1,000 incentive if they use ‘in-house’ conveyancing and mortgaging services. In reality, […]

Veteran firm Jackson-Stops to launch online strategy aimed at the ‘self-serve generation’

Veteran firm Jackson-Stops – which this month dropped the ‘& Staff’ from its name – is expected to announce an online strategy in the New Year. The business, with 45 offices, is also undergoing a strategic review. Chairman Nick Leeming told EYE: “It is a challenge for the industry as to how far agents position […]

Sanction Court today is final hurdle for Agents’ Mutual to prepare OTM for stock market launch

Today is likely to see the final step in the demutualisation process of Agents’ Mutual – although the outcome of the sanction court is by no means certain since the court has proved in the past that it is not a rubber-stamping process. However, if it does approve the new scheme of arrangement – for […]

Convicted thief who took part in jewellery robbery went on to work for agent

A home owner googled the agent who came to value his property after losing his business card – and was shocked to find that the agent had recently come out of jail for his part in a £300,000 robbery. Kane Oye was sentenced to three years in prison after he and an accomplice raided a […]

Will it, won’t it? Aspiring trade body CIELA stays silent three weeks from launch

CIELA, the aspiring trade body planning to launch on October 1, appears to have gone very quiet – although nothing has been said to suggest the launch will not go ahead as planned. Last week it was due to hold two more roadshows – in Leeds on Tuesday and in Liverpool on Thursday – but […]

easyProperty relaunches as it puts past mistakes – including THAT funeral procession – behind it

September 8, 2017

Email to a friend Print easyProperty has relaunched as a hybrid agency service vowing to “paint the country orange”. It says it is now the second biggest online player behind Purplebricks. The agency, which launched in 2015 ‘among the dinosaurs’ at the Natural History Museum, went on to deploy a public stunt which featured a […]

OnTheMarket ‘will not succeed as public company’, City analyst tells investors

Email to a friend Print A city analyst has questioned the chances of OnTheMarket succeeding as a public company. Meanwhile, the biggest losers appear to be those agents in breach of their contracts to Agents’ Mutual, who have had their membership terminated and will not receive new shares. Anthony Codling, an analyst for Jefferies, said […]

Online agent YOPA launches new Agent Guide – and the high street comes off worse

Email to a friend Print Online agent YOPA has a new feature called the Agent Guide on its site. It claims to compare high street agents in towns with YOPA itself. However, the comparison is between YOPA’s national inventory – which it puts at 3,293 – and the high street agents’ own local stock, which […]

We’re still getting agents returning to us, says Zoopla, as it announces ‘strong performance’

Email to a friend Print Zoopla has reported that its property division is trading strongly, with agents returning to it. In a short trading update, it said it was “very pleased” with current trading. It expects revenues and EBITDA to be towards the top end of expectations when it reports its full-year results on November […]

Hunters confident of full-year performance despite drop in profits for first six months

Email to a friend Print Hunters has announced its half-year results to the City, saying that it is confident of meeting expectations for the full year, despite a drop in profits. In interim results for the six months to the end of June, Hunters announced that its EBITDA figure had dropped from £923,000 for the […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: OnTheMarket to go for flotation after 89% Yes vote

September 7, 2017

Email to a friend Print Members of Agents’ Mutual have voted 89% in favour of demutualisation, with only 11% against. The vote will introduce a new parent company in preparation for an IPO on the AIM stockmarket. The size of the vote has not as yet been revealed. A court hearing to sanction the members’ […]

Lettings fee ban WILL happen but ‘unintended consequences’ to be monitored – housing minister

Email to a friend Print The lettings fee ban will happen but legislation has been introduced in draft so it can be properly scrutinised by all parties, the housing minister has said. In one of his first appearances discussing housing and agent issues in the House of Commons, Alok Sharma said the lettings fee ban […]

Rightmove introducing new packages for agents at up to £1,750 per month for each office

Email to a friend Print Rightmove has confirmed it is introducing new sales packages for agents. The packages look to be hikes for many agents on its current charges. The cheapest, ‘essential’ package, is at £1,000 per month per branch. It comes with the message “Access the most engaged audience”. The ‘enhanced’ is £1,450, tagged […]

Stop your ‘senseless’ war over sales boards, local authority tells agents

Email to a friend Print A local authority has written to all the estate agents on its patch urging them to stop “senseless competition” as to who can put up the most For Sale and Sold boards. And last night, the agent named as main culprit Connells said it would be ‘refreshing’ its local branch […]

Are you a star? Propertymark launches first TV advert starring its own members

Email to a friend Print Propertymark today launches its first national television advertisement, to highlight the importance of using an agent who is ‘Propertymark Protected’. Members from across the organisation took part in the filming for the advert (although blink and we might miss you – sorry!) which was produced by London based advertising agency […]

Former darling of stock market Foxtons sees shares fall to a new low

Email to a friend Print Foxtons’ shares reached a 52-week low on Tuesday at 85p. The price was also the lowest since Foxtons floated on the London Stock Exchange four years ago. Yesterday, the shares rose slightly in early trading to 87.5p but finished the day at 85.5p The shares hit a 12-month high of […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Property Franchise Group tells City that EweMove made £300,000 losses on revenue of less than £1m

September 6, 2017

Email to a friend Print A trading update to the City has revealed that EweMove made losses of £300,000 on turnover of £900,000 in the first half of this year. As a result, this afternoon’s statement said, underlying profits for the Property Franchise Group this year will be below market expectations. PFG bought the business […]

Our faith is in the high street, says Spicerhaart after confirming purchase of major regional firm

Email to a friend Print Spicerhaart has confirmed its acquisition of large regional firm butters john bee, as reported by EYE yesterday. The price has not been disclosed. The deal takes the number of Spicerhaart branches to over 200 and employee headcount to over 2,000. The management team at butters john bee will remain the […]

No sale! Property Franchise Group totally rejects suggestions that EweMove has been sold to Countrywide

Email to a friend Print The Property Franchise Group has totally denied rumours that one of its brands, EweMove, has been sold to Countrywide, or that the brand is on the market at all. Last night, CEO Ian Wilson said that EweMove, bought only a year ago by PFG for £15m – but with the […]

Special incentive scheme to woo vendors from online agents proving a hit, says high street firm

Email to a friend Print A special incentive scheme specifically designed to woo vendors who are less than pleased with the performance of their online agent is proving a hit, a high street agent has said. Arun Estates said its softly, softly campaign has won it over £350,000 in additional fees within just over four […]

Purplebricks reported again to Advertising Standards Authority

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks has been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority – with the matter resolved informally and no further action taken. A spokesperson for the ASA said: “We received a complaint about a claim on Purplebricks’ website about viewing fees. “A complainant challenged whether it was misleading as they believed it […]

Company calling itself ‘Zoopla Property’ is ordered to change its name within a month

Email to a friend Print A company called Zoopla Property Limited has been ordered to change its name after objections from ZPG. Zoopla Property Limited, based in Birmingham, was incorporated in August last year and on Companies House describes its nature of business as residents’ property management. Its director is Kamran Bashir, with another director […]

NEWS FLASH: Belvoir announces it will launch self-service online estate agency within three to six months

September 5, 2017

Email to a friend Print Belvoir is to launch an online estate agency platform within the next three to six months – and will be considering a self-service lettings offering at some point in the future. The company, which announced excellent results this morning including a 62% increase in pre-tax profits, said it had polled […]

Ombudsman extends expulsion time of rogue agency – but will this help victims?

Email to a friend Print The Property Ombudsman has taken further action against an expelled letting agent after it received seven additional complaints from landlords which resulted in awards totalling £20,566. None of the money has been paid. Earlier money ordered to be paid may also not have been handed over to landlords and tenants. […]

Online estate agency founder named as new managing director of Xperience brands

Email to a friend Print Two top names have been announced as the latest appointments by the Property Franchise Group. Graham Lock, founder of original online agent House Network, has been appointed managing director of the group’s Xperience brands – encompassing Whitegates, Parkers, Ellis & Co, and CJ Hole – while former Your Move lettings […]

Big deals set to be announced as major agents stay tight-lipped on acquisitions

Email to a friend Print At least two new big deals are in the offing, EYE understands. Yesterday, Spicerhaart did not deny – or comment on – suggestions that it has bought, or is buying, a major firm. We are told this is Butters John Bee, with 19 branches across Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire and the […]

Property software firm raises over £1m – even though you may not have heard of it until now

Email to a friend Print A little known property management software firm, Arthur, has just raised £1,136,000 in its first round of funding, which was oversubscribed. The fundraising was managed by chairman Mark Jones who brought in five individual investors. London Business School investor group introduced 11 and the Deloitte Investor group brought in another […]

Gloves come off as online agents prepare to do battle on marketing front

Email to a friend Print The stakes continue to be raised in the online sector, after eMoov announced the recruitment of a new marketing director. Lucy Milne has joined from the same role at Just Eat, the online takeaway ordering service. Her CV also includes a stint as head of retail marketing at Orange. eMoov […]

OnTheMarket flotation MUST succeed in order to compete at highest level, says major regional agent

August 25, 2017

Email to a friend Print The managing partner of a regional independent has said that an IPO is the best chance that OnTheMarket has of succeeding and competing at the highest level. He said the IPO must succeed in order to stop Rightmove and Zoopla’s pricing strategies seeing agents’ costs escalate out of control. Alan […]

Money laundering – how will HMRC view these buyer scenarios?

Agents need to conduct a money laundering risk assessment and conduct customer due diligence on buyers – that is a statutory duty that comes from the Regulations not HMRC. The guidance HMRC has issued on the subject currently states that the buyer’s identity must be verified before the contracts are exchanged and so in theory […]

Agent Provocateur: Forget the technology, we need to speak!

Is there a dichotomy at the heart of the communication revolution in our industry? Forget the average [almost middle-aged] first-time buyer and let’s concentrate on normal people getting on with their lives, i.e. probably well into 40s and possibly 50s. Now let’s think about those who are allergic to the telephone, the generation of people […]

Pace of annual house price inflation slows down across cities

A 12-month slowdown in London house price growth has ‘bottomed out’, property analyst Hometrack said this morning. It said annual house price inflation in London in July stood at 2.8%, up from 2.3% the previous month, fuelled by low transaction volumes and an absence of forced sellers. Housing turnover across London has fallen by 17% […]

Kevin Hollinrake says it is important that MPs understand implications of fees ban

MP Kevin Hollinrake – who co-founded Hunters of which he is now chairman – has confirmed that agents will be able to attend the forthcoming Parliamentary debate on the proposed ban letting agent fees. Hollinrake, who is sponsoring the debate, told EYE: “It is understandable that the Government seeks to close a loophole that allows […]

EXCLUSIVE: OnTheMarket says proposed float does not mean abandoning core principles

August 24, 2017

Email to a friend Print A number of questions put by agents – including some of the issues raised by posters on EYE – have now been answered by OnTheMarket. We should clarify that the following Q & A has been put together by OTM itself. Was it the plan all along for Agents’ Mutual […]

Agent thrown out of ombudsman scheme after failing to pay award

A sales and letting agent in south-west London has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme for a year after the Ombudsman supported a landlord complaint. Premier Moves Management (PMM) did not pay the award of £4,900 as instructed by the Ombudsman so the case was referred to TPO’s disciplinary and standards committee, which ruled […]

Government rakes in an extra £2bn a year thanks to Stamp Duty surcharge

The Government looks increasingly unlikely to heed calls to ditch the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on additional home purchases after seeing the Treasury coffers swell by 20% extra receipts. For the same number of property transactions as two years ago, the Government has pulled in an extra £2bn in Stamp Duty Land Tax thanks to […]

Properties vanishing from mainstream rental market as more landlords switch to Airbnb

An increasing number of rental properties in London are being used for short-term holiday lets using websites such as Airbnb and are no longer available for long-term renting. The claim comes from the Residential Landlords Association which says there has been a 75% increase in the number of multi-listings on Airbnb between February 2016 and […]

Confusion as industry figure complains his daughter will be charged excessive reference fee

The subject of tenants’ fees charged by agents was aired yesterday on Twitter – but turned out to be based on something of a misunderstanding. It started with an angry Ed Mead complaining that an agent in Bristol, Ocean, was apparently planning to charge £300 to reference one tenant. Mead complained that the charge “has […]