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EweMove franchisee completes on network’s biggest acquisition to date

March 15, 2018

Email to a friend Print EweMove has completed on its biggest acquisition to date via its Sheffield branch. Owned and operated by Bob Brown, it has taken over Castle Estates in the same city. It has added over 350 properties to the EweMove sales and lettings portfolio with five new team members joining the ‘flock’. […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: One thousand up – OnTheMarket recruits 1,000 more offices since flotation

March 14, 2018

Email to a friend Print OnTheMarket has announced this morning that in the first five weeks since flotation, additional agent firms with more than 1,000 offices between them are now in listing agreements with it. The total number of UK estate agency offices covered by listing agreements with the company is now over 6,500. While […]

Half of sellers have no problems with their estate agent – leaving half that do, says Which?

Sellers are almost evenly split in their experiences of estate agents, with 48% having had no problems, but 47% having had at least one issue. Which? has come up with the finding after surveying just over 2,000 home owners but has not yet detailed what the issues typically are. It has, however, now issued new […]

Online agent Emoov reported to watchdog after displaying two sets of prices and savings

Online agent Emoov was reported to the advertising watchdog after different costs and savings claims were shown on its website. The fixed fee was shown as both £795 and £679. The average saving for customers was shown as both £2,672 and £4,378. A complainant challenged whether the two savings claims could be substantiated and whether […]

First-time buyers claiming Stamp Duty relief to cost Treasury up to 20% more than expected

Around 60,000 first-time buyers have benefited from the Stamp Duty relief announced last year, the Chancellor claims, but it is costing more than the Government expected. There have also been calls for more information about these first-time buyers. Philip Hammond used his first Spring Statement speech yesterday to reveal the number of first-time buyers who […]

No we WON’T give up our avocado on toast, aspiring home buyers confirm

The overwhelming majority of people will not give up avocado on toast in order to get on the housing ladder. In total, 87% out of 2,000 surveyed will not give up the luxury – even though one in three regard home ownership as one of life’s top priorities. Rather than giving up their favourite luxury, […]

Can it be true? Worried agents hold summit as to why grotty bedsits aren’t selling for £1m

Senior staff from Foxtons, Knight Frank and Savills have held a summit to try and find out why tiny bedsits in the grimmer parts of Clapham are not meeting their £1m valuations. An optional feature of these “single-room human containment units” is the hybrid kitchen sink and urinal, available for an extra £22,000. The agents […]

‘Lazy’ agents warned that they cannot outsource money laundering and due diligence obligations

March 13, 2018

A lawyer has warned that estate agents trying to offload their anti-money laundering responsibilities via outsourcing to a third party will not succeed. Arthur Robinson, director at north-east law firm Emmersons, said: “Recently my firm received a request from an estate agent in relation to confirmation on how we carried out customer due diligence and […]

Former employee wins over £60,000 after constructive unfair dismissal from Countrywide

A woman who was unfairly dismissed from Countrywide has won over £60,000. She had complained of a drop in staff morale, and her inability to lodge tenants’ deposits after Countrywide bought the firm she worked for. Mrs A. Fletcher won her claim to have been constructively unfairly dismissed at an employment tribunal which looked into […]

Purplebricks UK boss given option to subscribe for 100,000 shares

Share options have been granted to the CEO of Purplebricks in the UK. Lee Wainwright has been given options to subscribe for 100,000 shares in the company. The options were granted under the company’s share option plan for employees and have an exercise price of £4.15 – the closing price as at March 2. However, […]

Will high street estate agents make the same mistake as HMV – or face the music?

In 2002, the board of HMV were told by their marketing agency that the chain faced three major threats: online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets offering discounts. HMV’s managing director replied: “I accept that supermarkets are a thorn in our side but not for the serious music, games or film buyer. As for other two, […]

Proptech events firm is sold to independent estate agent

The investment arm of an independent estate agent has acquired a proptech events company. LiFE Ventures, part of London agent LiFE Residential, has bought TeqDen for an undisclosed sum. The business, which was founded by Christopher Walkey, holds events in Manchester and London where entrepreneurs can pitch their businesses to potential entrepreneurs. Jonathan Werth, managing […]

Former Purplebricks Local Property Expert in driving seat of new hybrid estate agency

March 12, 2018

Email to a friend Print An estate agent has found a new vehicle for the launch of his hybrid estate agency and is today due to take collection of his new office – a fully-branded mobile sales unit. Neil Harvey, one of the first Purplebricks Local Property Experts, has just launched The Property Market. With […]

Trio at top of Countrywide buy thousands of shares to demonstrate their commitment

The triumvirate at the top of troubled estate agency group Countrywide have each bought shares in the firm at market prices following last year’s disastrous results. Executive chairman Peter Long has bought 200,000 shares at 79.8p each. He now holds 571,429 shares altogether. Chief financial officer Himanshu Raja has bought 100,000 shares at 88p. He […]

Online start-up declares aim to become Ireland’s Purplebricks

An online agent planning to be to Ireland what Purplebricks is to the UK is bidding to raise £200,000 by crowdfunding. Former London agent David Madden launched Dublin-based Moove last August, complete with a network of Local Property Experts. The firm claims to be the first to market, with just three online agents currently operating […]

New report calls for incentives for landlords but does not suggest reversal of unpopular tax change

A new report by the Joseph Rowntree Association has proposed new incentives to encourage landlords to keep their properties up to scratch and to let to poorer tenants. They are: Introducing a rental incentive allowance allowing landlords to offset a proportion of their rental income against tax if they let to tenants in receipt of […]

Average house prices rising at fastest rate for five months to touch just under £300,000

Average house prices rose at the fastest rate for five months in February to £299,556, Your Move claims. The Your Move House Price Index for February shows that average values were up 0.5% on a monthly basis, the largest rise since the 0.6% recorded in September. The monthly rise reverses the flat growth experienced in […]

Countrywide’s own broker slashes earnings forecast for UK’s biggest estate agent with ‘messy’ times ahead

March 9, 2018

Countrywide’s in-house broker has slashed its forecast for the amount of earnings the group is expected to make in the coming two years, while another analyst has placed its forecast under review. The news came after Countrywide yesterday revealed thumping losses for last year, which sent the firm’s share price sinking 16% in early trading […]

Debts of £0.5m owed by failed Hunters franchisee including unpaid bills to staff

Hunters’ Norfolk franchisee Kudos Residential, which ceased trading last month, went out of business owing more than £500,000, it has been revealed. But it looks as though only £2,400 will be available to creditors, including the firm’s own staff and local suppliers. A total of 21 employees of the business were left out of pocket […]

easyProperty expands into lettings with two new packages to tempt landlords

Hybrid agent easyProperty is expanding into lettings. The new service, which launched yesterday, has two new packages: easy Let and easy Let Plus. easy Let is a self-serve model that allows a landlord to take the lead to find a tenant for their property. Costing £99 including VAT, landlords will have an advert on Rightmove […]

EweMove defends campaign to poach other agents’ staff by writing to them in their offices

EweMove has strongly defended its letter-writing campaign to poach other agents’ staff in their own workplaces, saying that it is proud of doing things differently and of being a “Marmite” brand. It has also pointed out that its letter-writing drive mirrors recruitment campaigns run through the trade press, including EYE. The campaign has so far […]

New ‘double quick’ transaction system put together by conveyancers and agents in same city

A group of property professionals, among them a number of estate agents, has devised a new system designed to speed up property transactions that has led to the completed sale and purchase of a house in just four weeks. The Plymouth Area Property Professionals Association (PAPPA) adopted a standardised property information questionnaire and sales protocol […]

Countrywide founder Harry Hill says UK’s biggest agent could be broken up in any sale

February 28, 2018

Email to a friend Print The legendary founder of Countrywide, Harry Hill, says that the UK’s largest estate agent could be broken up in any sale. He also believes it will be difficult to recruit a new Countrywide boss, and has criticised the acting executive chairman as having no property experience. Hill told EYE yesterday […]

Foxtons announces larger than expected two-thirds plunge in profits

Foxtons has announced a worse than expected fall in profits. It had been widely expected to unveil a halving of profits, down to £8.9m, but this morning the firm said that pre-tax profits for last year were £6.5m, down from £18.8m in 2016. Group revenue was also down, from £132.7m in 2016, to £117.6m last […]

Connells profits shoot up despite tough market, helped by sale of Zoopla shares

Connells Group this morning revealed a stunning 42% rise in pre-tax profits. Last year, the group made pre-tax profits of £104.2m, up from £73.4m in 3016. Total income rose 9%, to £457.2m. The results included a gain of £38.5m from the sale of shares in ZPG. Last year’s disposal followed a sale of Connells shares […]

Four major agencies back Zero Deposit as it finally hits the launch button

The long-awaited Zoopla-backed Zero Deposit scheme has launched, nine months after EYE first unveiled the plans. The deposit replacement scheme, led by former Zoopla commercial director Jon Notley, has gone live to the public with financial backing from the portal among others. Connells, LSL, Knight Frank and Acorn Group are all signed up and have […]

Advertising watchdog gives agent one more chance over ‘misleading’ ads

The advertising watchdog has warned an agent that it will undertake a formal investigation if it is caught posting ‘misleading’ ads on portals for properties that are no longer available again. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint about two properties advertised by London-based Portico Property, which has 18 offices around the capital. The […]

Rightmove’s average revenue per advertiser soars as it unveils double-digit profit increase

February 23, 2018

Rightmove has unveiled a double-digit rise in turnover and an operating profit margin of 76% as average revenue it receives per advertiser rose. However, while traffic grew for the 16th consecutive year, leads were actually 7% down last year, Rightmove reported this morning. Also reporting to the stock exchange this morning was OnTheMarket, which confirmed […]

Agent tells contractors to add 10% to bills to help off-set loss of income because of fees ban

An agent has told contractors to add a 10% margin to their bills, in order to help mitigate the loss of income because of the fees ban. In a letter sent out by the Belvoir franchisee, and which EYE has seen, the contractors are told: “Please send us your invoice for the full amount with […]

‘Don’t scrap Section 21 over misleading eviction claims’, agent warns

It’s misleading to say that tenants are being evicted from their homes for ‘no reason’. That’s the view of Mark Pilling, managing director of Spicerhaart corporate sales, who was responding to Wednesday’s BBC Panorama documentary about Section 21 notices, which appeared to suggest that the system needed to change. Pilling said that while the programme […]

Rental property supply hits three-month low as landlords quit the market

The gap between supply and demand for rental properties widened in January with more prospective tenants than stock coming onto the market. ARLA Propertymark members reported 70 prospective tenants per branch in January, compared to just 59 in December, but supply dropped from 200 to 184 over the same period. The last time supply reached […]

London estate agency chain adds another business to growing empire

London estate agency chain Dexters has added another business to its growing empire, after its acquisition of Benham & Reeves. The deal for Benham & Reeves, which has has four offices in north London, in Hampstead, Highgate, West Hampstead and Dartmouth Park, is for an undisclosed sum. The four offices will rebrand to Dexters “in […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Zoopla’s property boss Mark Goddard to depart

February 22, 2018

Mark Goddard, managing director of property at Zoopla’s parent company ZPG, is to leave the business. Goddard, who is head of both Zoopla and ZPG’s property software businesses, has been in his role for just under two years, having previously worked as chief executive of the Property Software Group, which is also owned by ZPG. […]

Trading Standards: ‘We will not have resources to enforce fees ban unless penalties are far higher’

Council and trading standards officials have told MPs that penalties for letting agents and landlords flouting the planned tenants’ fees ban should be higher. Officials said they wanted rogue landlords and agents to see the fines as a deterrent, and also warned that they would need to be more substantial in order to fund the […]

Government rejects agent’s petition — and confirms fees ban ‘not expected’ before April 2019

Email to a friend Print Letting agents are set for at least another year or more of uncertainty as the Government has publicly confirmed the tenant fee ban is unlikely to be implemented before April 2019. The indication came in a response from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to a parliamentary petition […]

‘Considerable concern’ as College of Fellows faces extinction

The College of Fellows, the membership body to which NAEA and ARLA luminaries are elected in recognition of their achievements in the sector, is set to be disbanded. Although the move is still officially in consultation, a letter from the College of Fellows’ chairman Ian Potter to members, seen by EYE, said Propertymark “appear to […]

BBC Panorama says Section 21 evictions ‘mean no security and no place to call home’ for millions of tenants

A BBC Panorama documentary that last night examined ‘no-fault’ evictions through the stories of tenants being evicted and a landlord trying to evict a tenant appeared to suggest that the system needed to change. Although it spoke to parties on both sides of the argument, the documentary called Evicted for No Reason and presented by […]

New review site launches – secondhand cars service switches attention to estate agents

A company that offers a car dealership reviews service is to start offering reviews of estate agents. JudgeService, which has offered a car dealership reviews service for the past seven years and claims to be used by over 1,000 dealerships, will unveil its latest venture at the inaugural Housing Digital event at Rudding Park in […]

Council’s use of selective licensing to force new controls on landlord ‘illegal’, court rules

Councils cannot use selective licensing conditions to impose new standards on private rented homes, the Court of Appeal has ruled. The ruling comes following a case involving Paul Brown, a landlord in Accrington, who challenged Hyndburn Council after it tried to use its selective licensing scheme in certain areas of the borough to force the […]

Online agents have ‘disrupted vendors’ psyche’ but traditional agents can still hit back, claim

February 21, 2018

Online estate agents may have permanently changed the way in which vendors think about how they pay to sell their home, but traditional agents can still hit back by halving their fee and charging it upfront. That’s the claim from a specialist property analyst, who has been comparing the way in which the model of […]

Zoopla’s share of listings at a three-year high, bank report claims

Zoopla’s share of UK property listings is at its highest level in three years, according to a report by bank Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley yesterday upped its stance on the stock of Zoopla’s parent company ZPG from ‘equalweight’ to ‘overweight’ and set a new target price for the business of 400p. That is up from […]

Upbeat Hunters sees expansion in ‘challenging’ market – and says franchisee collapse was ‘unique’

Hunters has said that the circumstances that led one of its franchisees to cease trading were “unique” and that it hopes that “challenging” market conditions will encourage more independent operators to join the franchise. The comments came as Hunters unveiled an increase in income of nearly 10% in 2017. In a trading update ahead of […]

BBC Panorama to investigate Section 21 ‘no-fault evictions’ tonight

The BBC current affairs show Panorama is set to examine Section 21 notices – so-called ‘no-fault evictions’ – tonight, and debate whether tenants deserve more protection. The programme, called Evicted for No Reason, is at 8.30pm on BBC One. Investigative reporter Richard Bilton will look at how ‘no-fault evictions’, as Panorama is calling Section 21 […]

Proptech startup that claims to weed out time-wasting tenants raises £3m in funding

A proptech startup business that claims it can make letting agents more profitable by weeding out time-waster tenants has raised £3m in new funding. The Homie service, which is just two years old and covers London only, says it vets would-be tenants so that agents only see the ones who are serious about renting a […]

Revealed: The hundreds of millions poured into online and hybrid agents

February 20, 2018

Ten of the UK’s top online/hybrid agents have raised nearly £250m between them since they were launched. Nearly 40% of that figure is accounted for by Purplebricks alone. EYE looked into the funding of 14 of the biggest names in the sector to see how much financial backing they have received since their respective launches. […]

Collapse of Hunters in Norfolk results in 21 job losses

The collapse of the business that operated the Hunters brand in Norfolk has resulted in the loss of 21 jobs, it has been confirmed. EYE revealed last week that Kudos Residential had ceased trading, wiping out Hunters’ presence in the county. The business has been placed into creditors’ voluntary liquidation with Price Bailey insolvency practitioners […]

Online agent defends failure to display EPC ratings on Rightmove listings

An online letting agent has defended its failure to display EPC ratings on some of its Rightmove listings, after EYE uncovered several examples of properties for which no rating was displayed, some of which had been on the market for months. A reader contacted EYE to complain that online letting agent OpenRent was posting listings […]

Competition watchdog that fined estate agents £370,000 launching new price fixing crackdown

The UK’s competition watchdog has unveiled a new crackdown on illegal price fixing, less than a year after it fined an estate agency group hundreds of thousands of pounds for the practice. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it is launching a new campaign to encourage more people to come forward after it was […]

Irish firm promises to revolutionise property auctions with first UK online sale

An Irish business promises to revolutionise property auctions when it launches its first UK online auction next month. BidX1, which took over veteran London firm Andrews & Robertson last month, takes a step away from the traditional auctioneering model by making its online technology available to everyone. All bids will be logged and displayed on […]

Council fines its own sales and letting agency, forcing it on to official blacklist

February 19, 2018

Email to a friend Print A local authority has fined its own sales and letting agency, so that it now appears on an official blacklist. Westminster Council’s CityWest Residential has been fined £15,000 for three breaches under the Consumer Rights Act. Its failures included not advertising fees charged to tenants. The fines were imposed after […]