Suttons City Living Blog

Powered By
Powered By Property Industry Eye

Online agent EweMove’s losses are reversed, says Property Franchise Group

February 1, 2018

Email to a friend Print The losses that its online agent EweMove made in the first half of its financial year have been “substantially reversed”. That’s according to a trading update from its parent company The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) for the year to December 31, 2017, issued yesterday ahead of its full-year results on […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Judge dismisses landlord Fergus Wilson’s lawsuit against YouTube vlogger

January 31, 2018

Email to a friend Print A lawsuit brought by prominent landlord Fergus Wilson against vlogger Danny Hyde regarding comments on his YouTube page has been thrown out. Wilson was suing Hyde for £10,000 under the Malicious Communications Act, but instead has been ordered to pay £3,000 costs. Wilson was angry about a video criticising the […]

Nearly a third of shareholders rebel against Zoopla boss’s £62m incentive scheme

Almost a third of ZPG’s shareholders voted against a lucrative incentive scheme designed to keep chief executive and founder Alex Chesterman in his post until at least 2021. Under what ZPG calls its Value Creation Plan (VCP), Chesterman will reportedly be able to earn as much as £62m over the next four years if he […]

OTM ‘not a threat’ to leading portals, broker asserts

OnTheMarket is not a threat to the established property portals Rightmove and Zoopla, at least not in the near future. That’s the view of analyst Peel Hunt, which has maintained a “buy” rating on Zoopla’s parent company ZPG following a “short but reassuring” trading update yesterday. ZPG updated investors on its progress for the trading […]

Mortgage approvals for house purchase shrink to three-year low

Mortgage approvals for house purchase hit a three-year low last month, Bank of England figures have confirmed. The latest lending data shows 61,039 approvals for house purchase mortgages, down from 64,712 in November 2017 and below the previous six-month average of 66,194. This was the weakest data since January 2015, the Bank of England said, […]

Former letting agency boss charged with fraud, false accounting and theft

The former director of a letting agency has been charged with fraud, false accounting and theft totalling around £450,000. Heather Crabb, who owned Drake Homes in Plymouth, Devon, from 2005 until it closed in September 2016, is due to appear in court in March this year, according to the Plymouth Herald. She was arrested in […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: OnTheMarket raises £30m to start trading on stock market

January 26, 2018

The board of OnTheMarket has announced that it expects to start trading on the stock market shortly. It has conditionally raised £30m through the placing of new ordinary shares, and expects that dealing in its shares on AIM will start on February 9. It expects agents to own more than 70% of the issued share […]

Foxtons’ ‘shiny shoes’ add a glow to its share price despite big drops in revenue and profit

Foxtons’ share price rose nearly 3% yesterday, despite releasing a trading update in the morning containing gloomy numbers covering last year. The agent also warned of “challenging conditions” this year. Yesterday, it posted a 12% slide in revenue and a 39% drop in adjusted EBITDA profits in 2017. Revenue from sales was down substantially, by […]

Regional property chain offloads its ‘non-core’ surveying arm

Regional chain Andrews Property Group has sold its surveying arm, Landmark Chartered Surveyors, to the SimplyBiz Group for an undisclosed sum. Andrews’ group chief executive David Westgate said the business did not “sit centrally to the core focus of Andrews Property Group” and that it decided to sell after an approach from SimplyBiz. Landmark was […]

Nearly a quarter of estate agencies would not pass anti-money laundering spot checks, claim

A significant number of estate agency businesses would struggle to pass an anti-money laundering spot check, while nearly a quarter could be breaking the law because they don’t have an AML officer in place. That’s the warning from identity verification business Credas, which polled 100 estate agency businesses. It found that 22% of those businesses […]

Estate agents warned to brace for closures in 2018 ‘shake-out’

Estate agents are likely to have to make a wave of branch closures over the next 12 months, an agent has warned. Mark Charter, from Oxford-based Carter Jonas, has predicted a “shake-out” in 2018. His concerns were prompted by Countrywide’s recent profit warning, as well as figures from the Land Registry that indicate completions have […]

Foxtons report big drops in both revenue and profits as sales fall away

January 25, 2018

Foxtons this morning reported that its revenue last year dropped to £117m, down from £133m the year before. In the last quarter or 2017, its revenue fell £2m, to £24m. Adjusted EBITDA profits are down almost £10m, falling to £15m last year, down from £24.6m in 2016. Sales revenue last year was down by over […]

EYE exclusive: Countrywide founder Harry Hill says ‘little prospect’ of the business regaining its status as market leader

Legendary estate agency figure Harry Hill, who bought what became the Countrywide business for £1 and went on to build it into the UK’s biggest estate agency, last night exclusively spoke to EYE. He told of his heartache at seeing the business he built up into theUK’s most successful agency going into such difficulties, expressed […]

Countrywide executive chairman stepping in ‘for as long as it takes’ to turn UK’s largest estate agent around

Countrywide executive chairman Peter Long will step in “for as long as is needed to get us back to where we should be”, staff of the UK’s biggest estate agent have been told. But some will be wondering where multi-tasking Long, who is also chairman of Royal Mail and a third large organisation, will find […]

Bank upgrades Countrywide to ‘hold’ as Alison Platt receives a six-figure ‘golden goodbye’

A bank’s City analysts have upgraded Countrywide to ‘hold’ despite the fact that the estate agency group’s share price rose just 0.4% yesterday, closing at 100.4p, following news yesterday morning that Alison Platt had resigned as the estate agency group’s chief executive. Meanwhile, it emerged that Platt is in line for a six-figure pay-off following […]

Ask Alexa! Hybrid agent installs digital home assistant to feed tenants’ queries directly to landlords

A hybrid agent that focuses on technology rather than a branch network to provide services has developed a way for tenants and landlords to communicate through Amazon’s digital home assistant Alexa. Households can currently hear the news, listen to music and order their shopping using Alexa’s skills, and now tenants and landlords using London agent […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Purplebricks to launch in New York

January 24, 2018

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks announced this morning that it is to launch in New York. The roll-out to the New York designated market area will come in the second quarter of this year. The area covers 31 counties, with over 7.4m households and over 20m people. It is the largest area in the […]

No shortage of candidates ready to take on the biggest job in estate agency – the Countrywide challenge

Countrywide this morning confirmed the departure of CEO Alison Platt. Meanwhile, executive chairman Peter Long who is taking over the running of the company in the interim, wrote to staff, telling of Platt’s resignation, and saying that he and his colleagues will “implement a turnaround plan that will enable us all to be proud to […]

The Paul Smith column: What happens now that Platt is leaving Countryslide?

As widely predicted, Countrywide CEO Alison Platt is gone after presiding over what can only be described, in my view, as a catastrophic tenure at the top. Shares fell from £6 to £1 since she took over in 2014, plunging almost a quarter in the last week alone (135p to 10op at the time of […]

Identity of estate agents fined under anti-money laundering regulations could soon be revealed, HMRC warns

The identity of estate agents slapped with penalties for failing to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations — currently kept secret — could soon be revealed. That was the warning from HMRC, which said it was reconsidering its policy on the issue. At present, HMRC doesn’t reveal which estate agents have been fined, nor the size […]

New data suggest first annual slump in UK residential transactions since 2014

UK property transactions fell for the first time since 2014 during 2017, HMRC data suggests. However, the only fall last year was in England: in the smaller sales markets of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, transaction levels rose. In Scotland, sales were up from 99,450 to 104,450; in Wales, up from 53,150 to 56,280; in […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Staff told Alison Platt quitting as CEO of Countrywide

January 23, 2018

Alison Platt, the controversial boss of Countrywide, is leaving the business. Her departure was announced to senior staff this afternoon. It is understood that for the time being, chairman Peter Long steps up to become executive chairman and Paul Creffield is promoted to chief operating officer. Himanshu Raja, group chief financial officer since last August […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Countrywide shares now sink to £1 for first time

Shares in Countrywide have dropped through the symbolic 100p mark. They did so at about noon today – and have continued to drop. At 12.40p, the price was 99.4p. It makes a precipitous fall in the value of the business, which closed trading on Wednesday last week at just over 135p. Countrywide made a dramatic […]

Countrywide’s Alison Platt ‘close to exit’, report claims

Countrywide’s board is discussing the future of under-pressure chief executive Alison Platt, after the group’s shares slid to a record low following a profits warning last week. Sky News quoted “City sources” who suggested that an announcement on Platt’s departure was possible in the next few days, although it has not yet been finalised. One […]

Jane Gardner returns to industry with her own ‘different’ agency after having to sit it out

Popular industry figure Jane Gardner is to re-enter estate agency with the launch of what she says will be a very “different kind” of business. Three years after selling her previous firm, high street lettings business Sewell & Gardner to Countrywide, Gardner is now out of contract and able to get back into the industry. […]

Zoopla signs up four major estate agencies including Foxtons and Yopa to new long-term agreements

Four major estate agencies — Andrews, Dexters, Foxtons and Yopa — have signed up to new agreements with ZPG, each of which lasts several years. ZPG, which offers property platforms including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, Property Software Group and Hometrack, has also reached agreements with several smaller agencies. The company declined to reveal precisely how long the […]

‘Landlords who self-manage after fees ban could do a better job than agents’, claim

Landlords who self-manage their properties could do a better job than letting agents, a tenant fees ban campaigner has told MPs. Giving evidence to the Communities and Local Government Committee yesterday, as it continued to examine the Draft Tenant Fees Bill, Dan Wilson Craw, interim director of Generation Rent, said that the extra competition among […]

Property drought wears on and buyer interest dwindles, says haart

An agent has reported major drops in both new listings and buyer interest. Haart says that last year, there was a 16.8% fall in new properties for sale, measured between December 2016 and December 2017. New buyer registrations dwindled by 7.4%, with the number of landlords registering to buy down by 26.3%. Viewings were also […]

Government quietly corrects its own ‘startling’ mistake in How to Rent booklet

The Government has quietly corrected its own advice in its ‘How to Rent’ Booklet, putting right what one lawyer calls a “startling” mistake that could have left agents and landlords in a difficult legal position. Last week, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) updated the How to Rent Booklet, making an important […]

Joshua Rayner’s recruitment column: Hiring mistakes cost more than you think

Have you heard the story of the newly hired agent who walked off the job taking a client’s keys with him? He moved into the property, forcing the agent involved to embark on a lengthy eviction process to get him out. Then there’s the negotiator who claimed to have a clean driving licence – a […]

Pace of rent rises slows to below the rate of inflation

Rents on new tenancies look likely to have risen at slower rate than inflation for each month of 2017, HomeLet claims. The tenant referencing firms latest December Rental Index found prices on newly agreed tenancies rose 1.7% during the last month of 2017 to £907. This compares with £892 from the end of 2016 when […]

Viewber launches new fundraising round and is over-subscribed in just one weekend

January 22, 2018

Email to a friend Print A new fundraising round by Viewber, the outsourced property viewings service, has been over-subscribed with pre-registration interest inside a single weekend. The 3,000-plus freelance Viewbers who show people around homes for sale and rent were among those invited to take part in the crowdfunding, as well as customers such as […]

Back for more: Rental start-up launches new crowdfunding campaign

No Agent, like Viewber, is also raising more money. A new crowdfunding campaign by the property company is due to launch to the public today. It comes just 14 months after No Agent’s last crowdfunding round, and not long after announcing that it had raised a further £840,000 in private money, in November last year. […]

Countrywide’s share price starts the week trading at a new low

Countrywide’s share price starts the week at a new low after the shares lost a fifth of their value in the last two days of last week. It has also been announced that another senior figure in the organisation is to leave for a role elsewhere. Kate Brown, in charge of HR, has been with […]

Tenant fees ban campaigners Generation Rent and Citizens Advice to appear before MPs today

A group that has campaigned fervently in favour of a tenant fees ban in England will appear today to give evidence to MPs who are inquiring into the private rented centre. Generation Rent, which in 2016 made a call for fees to be abolished in their entirety, will be joined by the two main landlord […]

Former LSL director David Newnes among backers of new property management firm

A new property start-up has secured investment of over £500,000 from investors including former LSL director David Newnes, one of the most respected figures in the industry. AskPorter describes itself as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered property management platform. The latest investors also include James Caan and Faisal Butt, as well as a follow-on commitment […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: MPs vote through Bill allowing tenants to sue landlords over poor housing

January 19, 2018

Email to a friend Print MPs have voted in favour of a Bill that hands more power to tenants and will allow them to sue landlords over poor housing, taking it an important step closer to becoming law. It marks a personal victory for Labour MP Karen Buck, who has twice previously tried to introduce […]

Purplebricks will be big winner and Rightmove to lose ground, predict bank analysts

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks’ share of the overall UK housing market will rise to 15% by 2022, a bank is forecasting. JP Morgan also says that Purplebricks’ current conversion rate from instruction to sale agreed places Purplebricks agents “amongst the leading in the business”. The bank, starting its coverage of the company, has […]

Home owners of low EPC properties could be forced to upgrade them before sale

Email to a friend Print Homes with poor energy performance could be banned from the sales market, with owners having to upgrade them before being allowed to sell them. The call has come from the Committee on Climate Change and could affect at least 1.2m homes with EPC ratings of F and G. As with […]

Foreign investors left nursing huge losses as they scramble to get out of off-plan deals

Email to a friend Print The foreign investor market in London is on its knees – with ‘hundreds’ of buyers of homes purchased off-plan over the last four years nursing huge losses. The problem, says one large London agent, has been ‘massively under-reported’ by the media. With values of such properties having dropped like a […]

More than half of Brits experiencing problems with ‘rogue’ estate or letting agents, claim

Email to a friend Print Estate or letting agents caused problems for more than half of those consumers who bought, sold or rented a home within the last five years, it has been claimed. However, the majority didn’t check if their agent was regulated or part of a professional body before signing the contract. That’s […]

Connells Group ‘boosts its share of new instructions in falling market’

Email to a friend Print Connells Group’s market share of new instructions swelled by nearly 4% in 2017, despite a drop in the overall supply of new instructions to the market, according to figures it revealed yesterday. The business, which operates almost 600 estate agency and lettings agent branches across the UK and is owned […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Countrywide warns of dramatic fall in profit

January 18, 2018

Email to a friend Print Countrywide’s share price plunged this morning after it announced that it is expecting major falls in revenue and profits, with its sales and lettings business particularly badly hit. It is expecting group EBITDA for 2017 to be 22% down on the previous year. The announcement resulted in a drop of […]

High street agent Romans slams allAgents after being named second worst after Purplebricks

Email to a friend Print Romans has hit out at reviews site allAgents after being ‘named’ as the second worst-rated agency on the controversial site. It said is “disappointed but not surprised” at the ranking but says it has been encouraging its customers to drop the reviews site for some time in favour of Feefo […]

Hunters to advertise ‘super-short term’ lets on Airbnb and Booking.com

Estate agent Hunters will start advertising properties available for “super-short term” lets through the likes of Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia, after striking up a partnership with an online platform. The move follows a successful pilot in Manchester with the “super-short term” rental specialist Lavanda, backed by Purplebricks co-founder Kenny Bruce, former Countrywide boss and Rightmove […]

Continued slide in new instructions now goes on to nearly two years, say RICS agents

New instructions to sell have continued to decline, extending a run that has lasted nearly two years. In the latest RICS Residential Market Survey – covering 634 branches coming from 337 responses – 10% more surveyors reported a fall in new instructions rather than a rise. It comes as the RICS report showed new buyer […]

Harry Potter author JK Rowling blasts estate agent on Twitter — but did he deserve it?

JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of novels, made her feelings about estate agents perfectly clear on Twitter yesterday in response to news that a pub she supposedly once frequented as a student had been sold for £4m. News that the Old Fire House in Exeter had been sold by Devon-based agent Charles […]

Winkworth in line for greater-than-expected profits

Winkworth its pre-tax profits will be slightly ahead of market expectations at £1.3m, boosted mainly by its lettings business. The agency franchise network used a trading update, ahead of disclosure of its full results for 2017 at the end of March, to reveal that expects its revenues to have dipped by just below 5% last […]

New ‘super’ portal launching in just six weeks admits to having no marketing budget – but will rely on word of mouth

January 17, 2018

Email to a friend Print A new property portal planning to launch in the UK in less than six weeks’ time has admitted that it does not have a marketing budget. It has been hailed as a ‘super portal’, combining listings, providers to the industry, and a ratings and reviews feature. However, it has revealed […]

MP behind Bill that will let tenants sue landlords invites horror stories from renters on Facebook

Email to a friend Print The MP behind a Private Members Bill now being supported by the Government that could pave the way for legislation that lets tenants sue their landlords is to hold a live Facebook discussion this week, which invites horror stories about poor housing. The invitation comes ahead of a second reading […]