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Anger as ‘sexist’ estate agent advert shows trophy woman draped over ‘period property’

March 28, 2017

An estate agent’s advert has been condemned on social media and has become the object of six complaints to the advertising watchdog. The tube advert, by LSL brand Marsh & Parsons, is now withdrawn after the protests. It showed an apparent trophy wife draped over the shoulder of a much older man. The wording said: […]

Sales tumble right across England and Wales – and crash by one third in London

Transactions have fallen by 32% across London and by 18% across England and Wales in the first quarter of this year, compared with the first three months of last year. The comparison highlights the artificial strength of the market last March, driven by the April 1 deadline to beat a 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on […]

Victory! Mandatory Client Money Protection for letting agents now looks certain to be legal requirement

Compulsory Client Money Protection has been recommended for all letting agents in England in a Parliamentary review. The industry has strongly campaigned for just this – but, in a twist, the trade bodies could lose out in terms of their recruitment. Yesterday, it was announced – via Baroness Hayter’s Twitter account – that ministers are […]

Show your fees! Campaign to get letting agents to obey law steps into second phase

Almost 180 letting agents in parts of Berkshire and Hampshire are now being targeted in a campaign to find out if they are displaying fees correctly. In the second phase of a campaign being conducted jointly by The Property Ombudsman and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, 179 letting agents in and around the Basingstoke and […]

Purplebricks ‘leading agent’ by sales agreed as Connells breathes down neck of Countrywide

March 27, 2017

Countrywide remains the UK’s largest agent by inventory, but only just, as it has Connells breathing down its neck. Connells has slightly fewer properties than Countrywide but more under offer, as measured on one day earlier this month. Meanwhile Purplebricks’ claim to be the UK’s third largest estate agent by inventory, overtaking the likes of […]

Conveyancers call for Competition and Markets Authority study of their sector

Conveyancers have called on the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct a specific review into the conveyancing industry. The call comes after the CMA published a market study of legal services in England and Wales in December. It found that competition in legal services for consumers and small businesses was not working well. It criticised […]

Rayhan’s proptech latest: Is this the software that will finally be the genuine game-changer?

When Sohail Rashid first told me his software automatically tracked the conveyancing process without an agent or conveyancer needing to enter information manually, obviously I was sceptical. So we duly asked for a demonstration to see whether Sohail’s claim was too good to be true. Here’s what we saw and learned. According to Which?, three […]

Special recognition award for pair who battled to keep their business afloat after floods

Belvoir franchisees enjoyed their annual bash, which included a conference plus annual awards, hosted by Gyles Brandreth. A highspot of the event, held at Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire, was the raffle, offering a new Mini. This was won by two franchisees – of Belvoir Bromley – who have not yet opened for business. The Belvoir award […]

Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman named as one of Britain’s top 100 entrepreneurs

Alex Chesterman has been named among Britain’s top entrepreneurs in the Maserati 100, published in yesterday’s Sunday Times. The listing specifically includes those who are challenging established players and disrupting their respective industries. No online agents have made the cut, but the citation for the Zoopla boss says: “Chesterman has shaken out two long-established industries […]

Winkworth gets set to launch an online agency service

March 24, 2017

WInkworth is to launch an online agency service that will sit alongside its 90 bricks and mortar offices. Although it has not yet set a date for the launch of the service – which will not be separately branded – the franchise company has just unveiled a redesigned website. This allows for the integration of […]

Is online estate agent Purplebricks over-valued, asks Financial Times

The Financial Times has queried whether Purplebricks is over-valued. In an article by Judith Evans, comparisons are made with Foxtons and Countrywide. Evans said that the company’s business model “wasn’t enough to thrill investors until recently”. She said: “After it floated on London’s junior market in late 2015 at 95p, Purplebricks hummed along between 100p […]

Agents’ meetings in heart of Westminster go ahead after terrorist attack

Two NAEA Propertymark meetings went ahead as planned yesterday in the heart of Westminster, in the office at The Sanctuary. The building is a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament and next to Westminster Abbey. NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward said that the scene yesterday was of deserted streets patrolled by police with […]

EYE reporter Marc Shoffman nominated for top journalism award

EYE reporter Marc Shoffman has been nominated for Freelance Journalist of the Year at the prestigious Headlinemoney Awards. The annual awards celebrate the best of financial journalism encompassing everything from property to personal loans and peer-to-peer lending. The winners will be announced at a London ceremony on May 16. Marc, an NCTJ qualified journalist for […]

Look which film star is a fan of OnTheMarket!

Rightmove and Zoopla – eat your hearts out. OnTheMarket has A-lister film star appeal – and it’s official. Actor Damian Lewis was quizzed on his favourite things in the latest issue of Esquire magazine. It is the kind of feature where people have to nominate their heroes, best hotels, favourite food, and the things they […]

City analyst issues briefing note to investors on ‘portal juggling’

March 23, 2017

City analyst Jefferies has this morning issued a briefing note to investors on the practice of portal juggling. It says that the practice is widespread, but more prevalent among hybrid than high street agents. The note, from Anthony Codling, says it is a preliminary “first small step in a much larger research journey that seeks […]

RICS shuts down headquarters after terrorist horror in Westminster

The RICS, which has its headquarters in Parliament Square, was yesterday afternoon caught up in the terrorist horror in which at least five people died and 40 more were injured. A spokesperson last night told EYE that the building, which faces the Houses of Parliament, was evacuated yesterday and will be closed today to all […]

Agents and landlords set to be given new responsibilities for policing immigration post-Brexit

The private rented sector will take on much of the ‘heavy lifting’ in terms of immigration control after Brexit. Private landlords – and/or almost certainly their agents – are likely to be given major responsibilities in terms of policing whatever new immigration policies are put in place. There will also be tough sanctions for those […]

Campaigning tenants’ group launches review site of agents

A new website has been launched by the tenants’ activists group Acorn. Called Marks out of Tenancy, its aim is to give renters genuine information about properties, landlords, agents and areas. Tenants can anonymously post their reviews on the platform, which has launched as part of Acorn’s Renters Rising campaign. The Bristol-based group behind the […]

Savills’ revenue and profits in UK slip as global income rises to new record

Global property group Savills has announced record results for last year – but revenue in its UK residential business was down 3% to £124.4m. Profits in the UK residential business slipped 2% to £17.5m. The volume of exchanges in London was down by 5%, but outside London, Savills saw a 7% rise in completions. Its […]

Hunters snaps up 15-office franchise firm Besley Hill for £2.5m

March 22, 2017

Hunters, co-founded by the MP Kevin Hollinrake, has acquired Besley Hill, a franchise network of 15 outlets operating in Bristol and Gloucestershire. The purchase price is for a total consideration of £2.5m, of which £2.25m is being paid in cash. The rest will be in the form of ‘consideration’ shares – 421,578 at 59p each. […]

E-signatures are fine on agency agreement, county court rules

A county court has upheld the use of an electronic signature in an agency agreement. The case involved south-east Wales agents Roberts and a tenant’s guarantor in a rental arrears case. Roberts’ regional manager Nick Blight said the guarantor was trying to dispute her obligation to cover rent arrears of £3,668. The guarantor’s defence was […]

Estate agency industry suffers ‘worst staff shortages’ in a generation – despite branch closures

An estate agent recruitment consultancy says that the sector is experiencing the worst staff shortages in a generation. Cutbacks made by firms last summer look to have been premature, as they may have driven good people out of the industry, and are said to be responsible for the shortage this spring. Property Personnel managing director […]

Independent proptech expert says eMoov is the model that works in online agency

A respected proptech commentator has commended eMoov as a business model that works in online estate agency. American Mike DelPrete was writing in US publication Inman, ahead of Purplebricks’ launch in America – where he said the battle is about to heat up. However, instead of focusing on Purplebricks itelf, he has chosen eMoov as […]

Respected industry leader John Hards to ‘retire’ after 45 years

One of the best known and most respected figures in the lettings industry, John Hards, is retiring after 45 years. However, he plans to keep his hand in with some consultancy work. Hards has spent most of that time – 35 years – at Countrywide, where he has been managing director of Countrywide Residential Lettings […]

Consumer awareness of Zoopla at an all-time high – with Rightmove lagging in second place

The latest research by Harris Interactive on behalf of ZPG, reveals that Zoopla’s national spontaneous brand awareness is now at an all-time high, with the gap over Rightmove also at its biggest level ever. The research, questioning over 1,043 adults across the UK during the week commencing February 21, shows that when consumers were are […]

CMA says it cannot review letting agent fees because of ‘insufficient time before ban’

March 21, 2017

The Competition and Markets Authority has rejected calls for a review of the lettings industry market, including the fees charged by agents, saying there is no time. Meanwhile, Citizens Advice has called on the Government to “enact a complete ban on any fees to tenants as soon as possible”. In its response to the Fair […]

New service launches for agents which combines conveyancing and Consumer Protection Regulations compliance

A new sister company to auction platform IAM Sold has launched, offering a white-labelled conveyancing service to agents. The Conveyancing Partnership is described as a software platform offering a white-labelled hybrid conveyancing and compliance solution for estate agents. Its launch follows 12 months of beta testing with a number of independent agents. It is the […]

Purplebricks growing faster in Australia than it did after UK launch

Purplebricks has launched in Perth, Australia, and says it is expanding at a faster rate in Australia than when it launched in the UK three years ago. Australian CEO Ryan Dinsdale says it has achieved 435 sales in its first six months and claims to have saved customers $5m in fees. Its Australian website shows […]

Estate agent finds himself social media sensation after valuation visit to flat crashes mums’ website

A modest estate agent found himself the focus of a search to find him after he became an unexpected hit on social media. All Dan Stevenson, 26, did was go to value a flat belonging to Lorna Hayward, in Wandsworth, London. But then Lorna uploaded a Facebook photo of him with her two small daughters […]

Transactions across England and Wales fall 14% compared with a year ago

Transactions last month fell almost 8% on January, and nearly 14% on February last year. The figures come from haart, based on its own statistics. While it reports that average house prices went up on an annual basis by 2.6%, it says they were down 1.4% on the month to stand at an average of […]

NEWS FLASH: Estate agent employees offered up to £100,000 to whistleblow on cartels

March 20, 2017

Estate agents, including employees, are among those being offered up to £100,000 to blow the whistle on illegal cartels. Making the announcement this morning, the Competition and Markets Authority said it is launching its first advertising campaign to crack down on cartels. Its press release specifically mentions the latest case involving agents, where firms in […]

Ban on letting fees to cost single-office business £85,000 a year, claim

A ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants will result in a loss of income of £85,000 for a single-office business and over £850,000 for a multi-branch network, it has been claimed. Agents representing firms from across the country discussed the proposed ban at a round table debate hosted by software provider Eurolink. The […]

Up and up – average asking prices in big monthly jump, says Rightmove

Asking prices of property new to the market have jumped an average of 1.3% this month, Rightmove reported this morning. The monthly rise, which equates to an average of £3,877, is the same as March last year, when there was a buying spree fuelled by the impending rise in Stamp Duty on the purchase of […]

Affordability worsens all over England and Wales as house prices rocket way ahead of earnings

House prices have been rising faster than earnings over the last two decades, highlighting a growing affordability gap. On average, working people could expect to pay around 7.6 times their annual earnings on purchasing a home in England and Wales in 2016, up from 3.6 times earnings in 1997. The figures are in a new […]

Rayhan’s Proptech column: Who will be the traditional letting agent’s next customers?

I’ve long written about Rightmove being the only winner in the traditional vs online agency wars. Regardless of how someone chooses to sell their home, Rightmove gets paid. But this dynamic isn’t true with lettings. There is no clear evidence, but it seems anecdotally obvious that many landlords forgo using an agent and list on […]

Agents beware – failure to show letting fees is resulting in penalties being issued all over country

The obligation to display your letting agency fees on your website and within branches has been a requirement for almost two years now, through section 83 of the Consumer Rights Act in 2015. Amazingly, a substantial minority of agents are still not complying. There are some who are still unaware of the obligation and that […]

Seller’s distress at finding her home on controversial Houser portal two years after withdrawal from sale

March 17, 2017

A woman has told of her shock and distress after discovering by chance that her home, which is not for sale, is being listed on property portal Houser. The pensioner’s property had been for sale with a Newton Fallowell office, but has no longer been on the market after being withdrawn two years ago. The […]

New Money Laundering Regulations ‘will create more problems’ for estate agents

The long awaited and very late Draft Money Laundering Regulation Consultation has now been published and it was nothing if not a surprise for us all in two distinct ways. Firstly, because they have not added something that was expected and secondly because they have added something that will create major problems for estate agents. […]

Landlords’ Barometer – #47: ‘Buy-to-let is dead’?

Welcome to my first Landlords’ Barometer following the Spring Budget 2017. Here is some of our latest content from what is the UK’s busiest landlord community: 1. Spring Budget 2017 – property perspective and reactions On the surface, the Budget did not hold much for landlords and property investors, but dig a little deeper and […]

Free places for agents on Julian O’Dell training course

There are some free training places available for agents in Norwich, Cheltenham and Southampton. Julian O’Dell of TM training & development is on a mini tour running his acclaimed “Surviving and Thriving in 2017” course. The free places are thanks to Rightmove who are backing the events by funding a number of places on the […]

House prices ‘could fall 4% this year’ as result of Article 50, claim

Average house prices could fall between 3% and 4% this year as a result of Brexit being triggered. The claim comes from online agent YOPA which has launched a ‘Brexit House Price Tracker’ that collates industry predictions and compares them to the indices from Halifax, Nationwide, Rightmove and the Land Registry. Predictions have been taken […]

It’s pay day! Bruce brothers cash in over £17m from Purplebricks share sales

March 16, 2017

Michael Bruce, CEO of Purplebricks, this morning cashed in some 3.6m shares in the company. The shares were held by his wife Isabel. CEO Bruce will still hold an interest in 37.7m shares, or a 14% stake in the business. The result of the book build of altogether some 7.9m shares was announced this morning, […]

Crooked letting agent jailed for 19 months after fleecing would-be tenants

A crooked agent who kept over £15,000 in holding deposits has been jailed for 19 months and banned from being a company director for five years. Thirugnanaselvam Damayantharan, 53, conned his victims out of sums ranging from £300 to £1,449, in frauds relating to 33 tenancies. He ran two firms in Croydon called See Own […]

Surprise as Treasury announces letting agents will NOT have to obey money laundering laws after all

Letting agents will not be regulated under anti-money laundering law – despite overwhelming support, including from within the industry, that they should be. However, the screws tighten on sales agents. The unexpected move on letting agents was announced by HM Treasury in its response to the EU’s 4th Money Laundering Directive. Barring a U-turn, letting […]

Strutt & Parker silent on speculation that investment bank could buy it

Strutt & Parker has declined to comment on speculation that it could be bought by an investment bank. The Financial Times is reporting that BNP Paribas, France’s biggest bank, is in talks to acquire the agent – but is likely only be interested in the commercial side of Strutt & Parker. The FT speculates that […]

Estate agent pleads guilty after stealing clients’ IDs as he showed people around homes

An estate agent who photographed clients’ bank cards while showing prospective buyers around their homes has pleaded guilty to fraud. He has admitted to seven counts, but asked to 69 other offences to be taken into consideration. Ayodele Oladuti, 29, of South Croydon, London, photographed bank cards on his phone, and took bank statements and […]

Good lord! Ex-Foxtons agent picks up £7.2m investment for his business

March 15, 2017

A proptech firm started by a former Foxtons agent has raised £7.2m in investment from venture capitalists. Goodlord – a service which allows agents, tenants and landlords to sign tenancy agreements online – was founded in 2014 by Richard White, now 39, and brothers Tom and Philip Mundy. Its latest fundraising comes after a £2m […]

Humberts makes key hire as it gets back into lettings

Humberts is making a return to lettings three years after it sold that part of its operations and has recruited Suzanne Diamond to run the new business. Her CV includes stints with Countrywide’s John D Wood brand and latterly with Surrey independent Curchods where she was group lettings director. At John D Wood, she was […]

Another ‘cut for Countrywide’ as sales support centre due to close, claims leaked announcement

Countrywide looks set to close its sales support office in Cheadle, Cheshire. According to a leaked internal email sent yesterday, which appeared to be genuine and which EYE has seen, “colleagues at the Sales Support Centre in Cheadle” were told on Monday that Countrywide proposes to close the office “later this year”. The announcement, from […]

Four new Winkworth launches to take network to almost 100

Winkworth Franchising is to launch four new outlets. They are in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; Kingsbury, London; Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire; and Brentford, west London. This will bring the total number of offices to 60 in the capital and 97 nationwide. Milford-on-Sea is due to open later this month, with Kingsbury in April and the remaining two in May. […]