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EYE NEWSFLASH: Foxtons announce fall in revenues as challenging market continues

October 18, 2017

Email to a friend Print Foxtons this morning issued a trading statement showing that in the first nine months of this year, its revenue was down by almost £13m compared with the same period last year. In the first nine months of last year, revenues were £106.3m. This year, they fell to £93.7m. In the […]

Commisery for Purplebricks as advertising watchdog demands changes to online agent’s TV adverts

Email to a friend Print Two ‘commisery’ TV adverts for Purplebricks must not be broadcast again in their original form after the advertising watchdog ruled that they did not make it sufficiently clear that sellers pay a fee whether their property sells or not. The Advertising Standards Authority said the fact that the fee was […]

House prices continue to rise but Land Registry data shows how far sales have plummeted since EU referendum

Email to a friend Print Pockets of the UK are continuing to experience mini house price booms despite transactions falling in all regions in the year since the Brexit vote. Figures from the Land Registry show that UK house prices in August rose 5%, up from 4.5% in July, to £225,956. On a monthly basis […]

Foxtons shares rise after speculation that Chancellor may cut Stamp Duty for first-time buyers

Email to a friend Print Shares in Foxtons rose 9% yesterday after speculation that the Chancellor is considering cutting Stamp Duty for first-time buyers – and possibly only for first-time buyers in London. The shares started the day at 67p and ended at 73p – albeit a very long way from their high last November […]

Four landlords who breached licensing requirements made subject of Criminal Behaviour Orders

Email to a friend Print A landlord has been handed what is the largest fine issued in this country for renting out properties without a selective licence. Jagdish Singh, of Leicester, pleaded guilty to failing to license eight of his properties in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. He was ordered to pay a total of £107,000, with fines […]

Letting agents secretly filmed by BBC accepting fake IDs from tenants

October 17, 2017

Email to a friend Print Letting agents were secretly filmed by the BBC accepting fake IDs from tenants, with innocent firms said to be “easily duped” into thinking that the paperwork was authentic. Last night’s Inside Out London exposed how Right to Rent rules have created a black market in forgeries that helps undocumented immigrants […]

Zoopla signs up Connells Group in new long-term marketing agreement

Email to a friend Print ZPG has announced that it has signed a new long-term marketing agreement with Connells, the UK’s second largest estate agency group. Last week, it announced a similar longterm deal with the UK’s largest agent, Countrywide. As part of the new agreement, Connells, which operates almost 600 estate agency and lettings […]

Pioneering new scheme awards top rating to agency that has banned tenant fees

Email to a friend Print Newham Council in London has become the first local authority in the UK to publish a ratings scheme for every letting agents in the borough. It is another first for the left wing authority which introduced borough-wide landlord licensing in 2013. The London borough has conducted an audit of every […]

Chancellor ‘considering cut in Stamp Duty for first-time buyers’

Email to a friend Print The Government appears to be floating the idea of a 1% Stamp Duty cut for first-time buyers in next month’s Budget. The Evening Standard yesterday ran an article badged as exclusive yesterday claiming Philip Hammond is considering the move in a Budget that will “aim to help people in their […]

Letters from America: eMoov’s Russell Quirk claims UK agency is less broken than US

Email to a friend Print UK estate agency is broken but it isn’t half as bad as across the pond, Russell Quirk claims. The eMoov founder has shared his experiences of the US market following a fact-finding trip with the UK Proptech Association last week. He describes the UK model as broken and being “opaque, […]

Scandal as agent labelled ‘repeat offender’ is again sent to jail after robbing another firm of thousands

October 16, 2017

Email to a friend Print A lettings manager who stole some £45,000 from tenants to fund his gambling addiction has been sentenced to a year and eight months in prison. Shockingly, Lee Grace has been branded by police as a repeat offender, having already committed similar offences at other agencies, and serving time in prison. […]

20% dip in transactions reported across England and Wales – with worst in London and south-east

There were 20% fewer transactions across England and Wales last month compared with September last year. LSL and Acadata put the total number of transactions in September in England and Wales at 63,000, down a fifth on the same month last year. Annual house price growth also slowed, LSL and Acadata jointly reported this morning. […]

Rightmove says sales agreed are falling across country in ‘challenging environment’

Rightmove this morning reported further evidence of a slowdown, with sales agreed falling across most of the country. However, Rightmove also reported a rise in property supply compared with recent Octobers. It said that in a “more challenging environment”, sales agreed numbers were down last month in nine regions compared with September last year. Despite […]

Ombudsman expresses surprise that ‘ready, willing, able’ is still part of any agent’s contract

Most agents are aware that they cannot include unfair terms in their agency agreements. Contract terms must comply with Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which sets out the general rules about fairness in contracts and notices. On top of these obligations, there are two further pieces of legislation that are extremely relevant […]

New service Uppie launches to help renters get on first-time buying ladder

A new service has launched, aiming to solve the deposit problems of first-time buyers. Essentially, first-time buyers without enough deposit money would move into empty properties and pay an amount of money equal to rent over six months. The amount would, however, not be seen as rent but as down-payments towards the mortgage deposit. Uppie […]

Analysts say Countrywide’s online agency has ‘fallen flat’ and Purplebricks has ‘monopoly on growth’

October 13, 2017

City analysts yesterday issued a ‘sell’ rating on Countrywide, saying that its digital offering has fallen flat. In a note to investors, Hamburg-headquartered Berenberg – the second oldest bank in the world – also issued a ‘sell’ rating on Foxtons, a ‘hold’ for LSL and a ‘buy’ rating on Purplebricks. The bank has initiated coverage […]

Agent who refuses to pay redress award for legal reasons faces possibility of going out of business

A long-running dispute that started with a complaint to Ombudsman Services Property over two years ago means that an agent may have to close down as it could be unable to trade legally. The agent, Enviro Estates – now known as EEUK Limited in Altrincham – says that because of the dispute, its membership has […]

New inquiry into private rented sector will look at whether enforcement is working

A new inquiry has been launched into the private rented sector. It will specifically look at the area of enforcement by local authorities, including whether councils have adequate powers to intervene when rental properties are sub-standard or dangerous, whether licensing schemes are working, and whether tenants are able to complain effectively. Announcing the inquiry, Clive […]

Zoopla invites agents to join hour-long ‘state of the market’ local webinars

Zoopla is next week holding a series of six regional live research webinars with a panel of ZPG experts which will be chaired by property expert and TV personality Phil Spencer. This is the second year running that ZPG has conducted its State of the Property Nation research, conducting extensive surveys of hundreds of estate […]

Opinion piece: Time to end this tired old talk about housing and act radical

So yet another party conference season ends with nothing of substance coming out of it, not, that is, if you discount the hoary old chestnuts of rent controls, Help to Buy and plans to cover the land in new-builds – no matter whether they are anywhere near where anyone wants to live. It was all […]

Property pundit forecasts redundancies and closures as pain in London market goes on

October 12, 2017

Email to a friend Print Buying agent and property pundit Henry Pryor has predicted “significant” redundancies and branch closures in the London market. He said many agents are “on their knees”. Separately, in a gloomy report, a central London agent has said that the Government will have to address the woes of the housing market […]

Ex-Countrywide head of estate agency Vince Corley reunited with colleagues at new firm

Another senior figure who was formerly with Countrywide has joined Nick Dunning Associates – the acquisition-hungry property business set up by Countrywide’s former head of lettings. The business, which already has two other ex-Countrywide seniors at its helm – Graham Harrison and Matt Hewitt – has now recruited Vince Corley. Corley, who left Countrywide in […]

Gloomy surveyors report ‘noticeable’ falls in both sales and buyer demand as prices rise

Buyer sentiment and sales activity have fallen back to levels last seen in the aftermath of the EU referendum, surveyors claim. The RICS this morning said that last month 20% more surveyors reported a dip rather than a rise in new buyer enquiries, the weakest figure since July 2016, the month after the Brexit vote. […]

Successful launch for Countrywide at its first build-to-rent scheme

Countrywide has announced that its first major build-to-rent property has successfully launched, with 60% of the 324 apartments let or reserved within the first seven weeks. The Cargo Building is Liverpool’s first build-to-rent scheme and the largest private rented sector development in the city. Its successful launch has outperformed target. The building, managed by Countrywide, […]

Anti-money laundering: Suspicious Activity Reports filed by agents only 0.2% of total

The number of estate agents reporting potential money laundering activities has risen but still represents only a tiny proportion of all reports. A new report says that in the 18 months between October 2015 and March this year, there were 766 Suspicious Activity Reports by estate agents. This represented just 0.2% of the total number […]

Purplebricks hits back in ‘fake reviews’ row with allAgents

October 11, 2017

Purplebricks last night said it has asked reviews site allAgents on ‘many occasions’ for information that would allow the authenticity of certain reviews to be checked. Stephen Parker, head of compliance at Purplebricks, said: “We continue to seek this information and once again request that allAgents engage with us, so that we can together work […]

Dealing with an unhappy consumer: Should agents offer a financial settlement?

In May, EYE ran an article about an agent who had offered to discount their fees as an attempt to resolve a complaint. This prompted a number of queries regarding the various ways of settling a dispute being received by TPO. http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/refunds-disappointed-sellers-have-up-to-a-year-to-complain-if-agent-lets-them-down/ All agents at some point are likely to have to deal with an […]

Law firm reports rise in number of landlords wishing to get out after clobbering by Government

One of the UK’s largest law firms is reporting an increase in the number of private landlords wishing to reduce or sell off their property portfolios. Irwin Mitchell says that this is a direct result of multiple changes forced on landlords by the Government, which have made buy-to-lets a less profitable investment option. The firm […]

Knight Frank profits dip for second year running as Brexit and Stamp Duty changes bite

Knight Frank’s profits are down for a second consecutive year, although revenues are up. Chairman Alistair Elliott said that Brexit and Stamp Duty changes were to blame for the decline in pre-tax profits to £145.7m, down from £152.6m a year earlier. Reporting on the 12 months to the end of March, turnover was up 3.3% […]

NAEA calls on Chancellor to regulate estate agents and exempt first-time buyers from Stamp Duty

NAEA Propertymark is calling on the Chancellor to exempt both first-time buyers and downsizers from Stamp Duty, and to scrap the 3% surcharge on the purchase of second homes. In views submitted to Philip Hammond ahead of his Budget next month, the NAEA also says it wants to see a ‘Help to Buy’ type of […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Reviews site allAgents launching crowdfunding appeal to raise money for legal fight against Purplebricks

October 10, 2017

Reviews site allAgents is this morning launching a crowdfunding appeal to raise money for a legal fight against Purplebricks. In September allAgents suspended the Purplebricks account in an attempt to prevent a legal action, with Purplebricks claiming that 29% of reviews on allAgents were bogus. allAgents says it has subsequently received several more letters from […]

Online agents are just so last year, says proptech venture capitalist guru

Online agents are a model from up to six years ago and start-ups are now unlikely to attract investment. The claim has come from the CEO of Pi Labs, the proptech venture capitalist which hot-houses property start-ups. Dominic Wilson was responding to a question from EYE as to why the four latest ‘proptech’ firms it […]

Have all agents cracked customer service? Not on this evidence!

With so much emphasis on customer service, you would think that it would be a given. Not so. A friend was out and about at the weekend and spotted an interesting property in an estate agency window. He went in to the empty shop, where two women were working. He asked for details, which one […]

£million bonanza in the offing! Agents set to be big referral winners

Zoopla says it has delivered over £1m in potential referral fees to its agents via its new MoveIt tool. If all the remaining referrals go on to convert to actual deals, the total payout will be £1m. It says that some subscribing agents are already financially getting more out of Zoopla than they are paying […]

Agent handed bill of £26,000 in overcrowding case is allowed to renew HMO licence

An agent and a landlord have been allowed to keep an HMO licence after being handed record fines. City Homes Estate Agents and landlord Majaddad Sany Sadiq were fined after 15 people were found living in a five-bedroom home in Peterborough. Cockroaches and fire hazards were found in the properties. City Homes were this month […]

High street agent’s online offering has expanded firm’s territory and could go national

A high street agent’s online offering has already extended its territory and could go national to compete head to head with other online agents, the firm says. Howard Cundey, with eight branches in Sussex, Surrey and Kent, says it now offers customers four ways of selling their property: through a traditional local branch; a ‘regional’ […]

EYE NEWSFLASH EXCLUSIVE: Reapit in multi-million pound management buyout backed by US venture capitalist

October 9, 2017

Reapit has today been purchased in a management buyout backed by an American venture capital firm, Accel-KKR (AKKR). With Reapit turning over circa £10m a year, the deal – done in the early hours of this morning – is thought to be £50m-plus. Over 60 potential backers had expressed their interest in Reapit, which is […]

Firm says it will withdraw application to trademark ‘PropTech’ term after furious protests

Email to a friend Print An application by a firm to trademark the term ‘PropTech’ is set to be withdrawn after being challenged through lawyers at the weekend. The application had been made by Sam Zawadski through his start-up firm Property Technology. Last night, Zawadski said he will be withdrawing the application to trademark the […]

House prices rise to record high – but does it herald tough time ahead for first-time buyers?

House price rises could be a real problem for first-time buyers who are also likely to face increases in mortgage rates. The warning has come after Halifax said house prices rose 0.8% last month, and by 4% annually, to stand at £225,109. Halifax said the figure is a record high. It is however considerably lower […]

We are just not seeing sales, un-named London agent tells Reuters

Huge uncertainty in the London property market has been revealed by Reuters. The news agency reports that out of 22 ‘property experts’, all said prices in London were over-valued, but their forecasts for the next three years ranged from a 17.5% drop to a 9% rise. Reuters reported: “Five estate agents said sales had effectively […]

Rental asking prices rise across Britain – but dip in London and south-east

Asking prices for rental properties in almost all regions have risen this year, Rightmove reports this morning. However, because of falls in London and the south-east, the average new asking price is actually down, by just 0.2%. In the south-east, new rental asking prices fell 2.3% in the third quarter compared with the second quarter. […]

Award win boosts agent’s sales by 10% and valuations by 22%

Awards are often criticised in the industry and one recent survey found that as far as members of the public are concerned, they are the least important factor when it comes to choosing an estate agent. But that is absolutely not the experience of Richard Fowler, of Northampshire independent Richard James. In the first eight […]

Ex-letting agent who conned top firms into handing over keys is jailed for burglaries

October 6, 2017

A former lettings manager has been jailed after pretending that he was still a lettings agent, persuading a string of top firms to hand over keys for fake viewings. He then used the keys to get into properties while the owners were out, and stole money and items including jewellery. The agents that were conned […]

New Rightmove boss profits to tune of £2.5m as he cashes in shares

Rightmove boss Peter Brooks-Johnson has cashed in 62,336 shares in the firm, netting over £2.5m. He exercised rights to acquire deferred shares acquired at no cost in March 2015 in respect of his 2014 bonus, plus performance shares awarded in 2013, and share options awarded in 2007. Brooks-Johnson promptly sold most at an average price […]

Countrywide board director to step down

A non-executive director is stepping down from Countrywide. Richard Adam – who has an extraordinary 153 director appointments listed at Companies House, although not all are active – was appointed to Countrywide in June 2014. His resignation is effective from the company’s next annual general meeting, likely to be held next April. Countrywide said a […]

Auctioneer I AM Sold breaks record with its highest-ever sales price

Auctioneer I AM Sold, which operates through white-labelled services provided to agents, has sold a property which achieved the highest value in the company’s history. The six-bedroom home set in an acre in Felbridge, West Sussex, was sold via agent Howard Cundey using the modern method of auction. It sold within 34 days for £10,000 […]

Purplebricks mistake on home sold in seven days last month is just ‘human error’

A publicity claim that a property was one of over 70 to have achieved ‘sale agreed’ status last month when it in fact sold in August has been put down to human error. Purplebricks in Lincoln used pictures of various properties in a flyer which it tweeted out, saying: “Another great sales month with over […]

EYE interview: Connells boss says group continues to back high street despite Hatched ownership

October 5, 2017

The boss of Connells Group, executive chairman Stephen Shipperley, this week marks his 40th year in the industry – all them spent at Connells, which he joined straight from school as a trainee negotiator. Here, in a special and remarkably wide-ranging interview with EYE, one of the most respected figures in today’s industry shares his […]

Beleaguered estate agent Countrywide attracts major new investor

Investment company Investec Asset Management has bought a 5.6% stake in Countrywide. It had not had shares in the UK’s largest estate agent before, but as of this week holds just over 13.3m shares. The purchase was announced at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, when the Countrywide share price stood at 113.50p. At that price, Investec’s […]

Prime Minister unveils £2bn extra funding for new generation of council houses

Theresa May has vowed to “get Government back in the business of building houses” after making an additional £2bn available to build affordable housing. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, the Prime Minister said councils and housing associations will be able to bid for the funds and some will be built for social rent below […]