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Mystery as executive chairman of NFoPP leaves

March 8, 2016

The executive chairman of NFoPP – parent body of the NAEA and ARLA – has left the organisation. NAEA managing director Mark Hayward confirmed the departure of the chairman yesterday afternoon but declined to be drawn on speculation. He said that no decision had yet been made as to whether to appoint a successor to […]

Corporate agents ‘not doing well on the high street’

Listings’ ladder shows all is not rosy for corporates There isn’t an estate agent among us, I’m sure, who doesn’t keep an eye on our competitors’ listings. But one thing I’ve noticed is just how badly the big corporates are faring. At Spicerhaart, we’ve created a very interesting listings’ league table in the areas where […]

Agent tells Chancellor: George, don’t do that

A major estate agent has written to George Osborne ahead of next week’s Budget, criticising the Chancellor’s tax plans. Andrew Grant, who is also president of Worcester’s Conservative Association, told Osborne he is jeopardising “the backbone of the Conservative party” by levying too many taxes on the middle classes. In his letter, Grant called property […]

Foxtons cites high street presence as reason for success

Foxtons made a sale every 45 minutes and a rental every 21 minutes last year. Today, it affirmed that its successful strategy is based on visibility in the high street. This morning, in what reads like a riposte to the online estate agency model, Foxtons reported robust results for 2015 to the City. It was […]

Big demo planned at weekend against Housing Bill

A major demonstration is planned for this weekend, aimed at killing off the Housing and Planning Bill. The union Unite says it expects thousands of people to march on Parliament to oppose the Bill. They will be putting rent controls among their demands. The national demonstration will be addressed by Jeremy Corbyn, shadow Chancellor John […]

Purplebricks backer gets behind new ‘price guarantee’ agent

March 7, 2016

A new type of agency is to launch in June, promising to sell a property for a guaranteed price within 90 days – or buy it itself. One of Purplebricks’ earliest investors, Errol Damelin, has now invested in Nested, a cross between an online agency and a “we’ll buy your home fast” business. Damelin is […]

Purplebricks backer gets behind new ‘price guarantee’ agent

A new type of agency is to launch in June, promising to sell a property for a guaranteed price within 90 days – or buy it itself. One of Purplebricks’ earliest investors, Errol Damelin, has now invested in Nested, a cross between an online agency and a “we’ll buy your home fast” business. Damelin is […]

Rise in number of agents going bust

The number of estate agents going out of business jumped by 16% last year. It went from 160 in 2014 to 185, bucking the overall downward trend in the number of company insolvencies over the same period, says accountancy firm Moore Stephens. It says that local agents were last year squeezed out by larger brands […]

No further police action in case of suddenly shut agency owing £130,000

Police have said that they will be taking no further action against an agent which shut up suddenly a year ago, leaving clients £130,000 out of pocket. Over 100 people were affected when Abbey Gate, in Battle, East Sussex, closed down without warning last March. East Sussex CID began an immediate inquiry. However, this week, […]

Agent jailed after trying to swindle woman in care home

An estate agent who tried to swindle an 89-year old woman has been sentenced to ten months in jail. The elderly woman needed the money from the sale of her home because she in a nursing home and needed to fund her care. Stephen Jones, who ran Conwy Estate Agents, planned to buy her Colwyn […]

Agent jailed after trying to swindle woman in care home

An estate agent who tried to swindle an 89-year old woman has been sentenced to ten months in jail. The elderly woman needed the money from the sale of her home because she in a nursing home and needed to fund her care. Stephen Jones, who ran Conwy Estate Agents, planned to buy her Colwyn […]

Back of the class! Agents’ most common howlers

Estate agents’ most common spelling mistakes have been turned up by a new website that can filter property search requirements down to very small detail. The site home-properties.co.uk looked at current descriptions of over 250,000 properties. The most common mis-spellings were: Seperate (mis-spelt 2,303 times) Accomodation (2,246) Formally (as in “formally an inn”) (815 Principle […]

Back of the class! Agents’ most common howlers

Estate agents’ most common spelling mistakes have been turned up by a new website that can filter property search requirements down to very small detail. The site home-properties.co.uk looked at current descriptions of over 250,000 properties. The most common mis-spellings were: Seperate (mis-spelt 2,303 times) Accomodation (2,246) Formally (as in “formally an inn”) (815 Principle […]

NEWSFLASH: eMoov says it has ‘asked Stephen Jury to leave’

March 4, 2016

Following rumours of developments at online agent eMoov, founder Russell Quirk has confirmed that two of his top people have been “asked to leave the business”. One is Stephen Jury, the director of media and communications at eMoov, for whom Jury successfully achieved an extraordinary level of media coverage. The other is Tariq Dag Khan, […]

Just how many times can a property’s price bounce up and down?

How many times can a house have its asking price adjusted within a year? And is it only the websites of the online and hybrid agents where you see asking prices going up, going down, listed, removed and re-listed? And – apparently – have a new price listed even after going under offer. Well, according […]

Is the market rising or falling? Who knows!

House prices ticked up last month by just 0.3%, according to Nationwide, but slid 1.4% according to Halifax. According to Nationwide, the average UK house price is now £196,930, up from £196,829 in January. Halifax puts the average price at £209,495 in February, but says this is down from January. Nationwide economist Robert Gardner said […]

Home movers ‘putting plans on hold until after Brexit poll’

Home movers are putting their plans on hold until after the EU referendum in June. The claim comes from removals firm Bishop’s Move. It says that in a poll of 1,000 people across the UK, a number of buyers and sellers in every region say they will wait until after June 23. Londoners are the […]

UK housing crisis: No other country has had price explosion of such magnitude

A new paper by the influential Institute of Economic Affairs has said that almost all of the Government’s interventions in the housing market have been “a step in the wrong direction”. It particularly criticises Help to Buy, changes to Inheritance Tax and higher taxes for buy-to-let landlords. It picks out Stamp Duty reforms as the […]

Price of new flats in London may plunge 20% this year

An investment bank says the price of new-build upmarket London flats could fall by as much as 20% this year. The warning is from Morgan Stanley and comes in the context of supply of expensive new developments in areas such as Canary Wharf and Battersea. The bank said that it was “assuming a 10-20% fall […]

NEWSFLASH: Countrywide buys eminent lettings business

March 3, 2016

Countrywide has kept up its momentum on acquisitions with the purchase of a major lettings business – one of the most eminent in the country and twice winner of UK letting agent of the year. Finders Keepers, based in Oxfordshire, has been bought for an undisclosed sum. It is extremely well known in Oxford itself […]

Countrywide emphasis on retail ‘preposterous’ says ex-boss

The former managing director of Countrywide Estate Agents, Bob Scarff, has described the firm’s insistence that it is all about retail as ludicrous. Scarff, who parted company with Countrywide last spring after 38 years, said: “I don’t buy the idea that people at Countrywide really think that, because the concept is preposterous. “Homes are not […]

Former managing director of Bridgfords joins Leaders

Mark Alcroft, the former managing director of Countrywide brand Bridgfords, has joined Leaders to run and grow the business in the north of England. Alcroft spent 32 years at Bridgfords, the last seven as managing director. He left last November. He said: “I am delighted to join a progressive company with ambitious plans for expansion. […]

Broker says Rightmove operates ‘most robust business’ it has ever seen

Analysts at brokers Jefferies have upgraded Rightmove to “hold” from “underperform” and lifted the share price target from 2,131p to 3,600p – although its closing price yesterday was 3,997p. Jefferies also upped Rightmove’s profits forecast after costs for this year by 7% to £161.1m, and for 2017 to £178.7m. Jefferies, which advises Zoopla, said Rightmove […]

Parent company of Your Move and Reeds Rains announces strong results

LSL, the parent company of estate agents including Your Move, Reeds Rains, Marsh & Parsons and Davis Tate, has announced strong results for last year with revenue and pre-tax profits up. Group revenue was £300.6m in 2015, up 5% on 2014, and pre-tax profits were £38.6m, up 21% on the year before (£31.9m). LSL said […]

Sarah Beeny says sorry for technical glitches at Tepilo

The technical glitches at Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo website were continuing yesterday – with one home owner angrily complaining on social media that his house was “fraudulently” listed for sale. In the afternoon, on Tepilo’s Twitter account, she posted at the top: “We recently made some updates which unfortunately caused several issues with our website and […]

Couple’s disappointment after finding dream home was relist on Rightmove

March 2, 2016

A pair of home hunters have told of their disappointment at finding their dream property listed on Rightmove yesterday – only to find that it had in fact been sold nearly 18 months ago. The property, in Ealing, west London, was listed with Rightmove on February 29 by TV presenter Sarah Beeny’s online firm Tepilo, […]

allAgents man whose car killed pensioner ‘maintaining innocence’

The letting agent and investor in allAgents convicted of killing a pensioner when he ran over her and her companion at a pedestrian crossing, is said to be maintaining his innocence. Vincent Friel’s defence, that he fainted at the wheel of his Range Rover, was rejected by a jury in Edinburgh, and the judge warned […]

OnTheMarket launches overseas properties site

OnTheMarket is now listing overseas properties for sale on a dedicated channel. It will allow both members and non-OTM members to advertise on it, and the ‘one other portal’ rule will not apply as OTM says this was established purely “to disrupt the duopolistic market place in the UK”. A spokesperson explained: “There is a […]

£3m bill for Countrywide in ‘strategic’ redundancies

Countrywide spent £13.6m on exceptional items, scrutiny of its results has revealed, including £3m on consultants. The UK’s largest agent reported its full-year figures for 2015 last Thursday. A closer look at the notes attached to the results reveals how much its ‘strategic’ Building Our Future restructure has cost it after redundancies and the bringing […]

Metropix sells its eight millionth floor plan

Metropix has announced selling its eight millionth floor plan. The customer was Premier Sales and Lettings in Oxford. All 8m floorplans are now in the Metropix plan bank – an archive of plans that can be used as a template for agents looking to create a plan quickly. All agents have to do is to […]

Newsflash: Major purchase of big regional agent by Connells

March 1, 2016

Connells Group has acquired Rook Matthews Sayer, a leading estate agency with 16 branches operating across Newcastle, Tyneside and Northumberland. The highly successful firm is a Gold member of OnTheMarket, with Clive Rook having been a director. Separately, Countrywide announced this morning that it has bought a major stake in specialist brokerage The Buy-to-Let business. […]

Rightmove probes different listings of same property by EweMove and Purplebricks

Two agents with similar business models – Purplebricks and EweMove – were yesterday listing the same property. EweMove was listing the property as sold subject to contract, while Purplebricks was listing it as newly available. Yesterday, EweMove reported the matter to Rightmove’s compliance team. Last night, a Rightmove spokesperson said the portal was investigating the […]

County’s largest independent signs up to OnTheMarket

A major regional chain, Arnolds Keys, has joined OnTheMarket. The firm has eight residential branches across Norwich, Norfolk and north Suffolk, and claims to be the largest independent estate agency both in Norwich and across Norfolk. A partner is Jan Hÿtch, who was a particularly impressive President of the NAEA in 2013/2014, and is also […]

ARLA works with Home Office to solve Right to Rent snag

A solution is in sight for a problem that agents in East Anglia have had with Right to Rent checks. In Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, letting agents often deal with US Air Force personnel wanting to rent. However the USAF staff have been told that for security reasons, they must not allow anyone to photocopy […]

Housing supply at lowest for 14 years, says NAEA

Housing supply was at its lowest for 14 years in January, the NAEA has reported. It said that landlords were swarming to beat the buy-to-let Stamp Duty surcharge and that sales to first-time buyers were up 5%. The number of properties available per member branch fell to 33 in January, the lowest since December 2002 […]

Big savings on Stamp Duty for most buyers, says Osborne

Over 780,000 home buyers saved an estimated £657m on Stamp Duty Land Tax in the year since the tax was reformed, George Osborne said yesterday. He said transactions levels at the top end of the market have remained constant under the new regime and Stamp Duty receipts from homes costing over £1m went up by […]

Monopoly claim: Online agents ‘squeezed out’ by big players on Google

February 29, 2016

An online agent has claimed that the big players in his market are making it all but impossible for newcomers to establish themselves. He claims they are doing so by driving up the cost of Google Ad words as they bid against each other to be listed on page one of searches. The agent – […]

Rightmove sets new target for advertising rates

Rightmove has set a new target for advertising rates this year. The ARPA (advertising rate per advertiser) target is to get an extra £70 on average – at the top end of the £60-£70 rate of annual growth in previous years. The rise would put the average paid by an estate agent branch per month […]

Rightmove is our absolute must, say over eight in ten vendors

More than eight in ten home sellers say that being on Rightmove is their most important choice of marketing, way ahead of both Zoopla and OnTheMarket. The result is in the Home Moving Trends Survey 2015, revealed at the Marketing Live! event on Friday. A survey before the event received responses from 5,420 people who […]

Is there a hidden meaning in Purplebricks television ad?

The current TV advert by hybrid agent Purplebricks is an interesting one. It shows a happy seller buying a painting which depicts one of the Purplebricks agents atop that mythical beast, a unicorn. Could the advert – which launched on Boxing Day – possibly mean anything else? Well, in tech circles, yes. A unicorn business […]

Letting agent with links to allAgents facing jail over death of pensioner

The owner of a lettings agency is facing jail after being convicted of killing a pedestrian. Vincent Friel, who owns a letting agency in Glasgow and Edinburgh and who said he invested a six-figure sum into review site allAgents, has been told jail is inevitable. Friel, 44, claimed he had fainted at the wheel of […]

55 landlords ‘in group claim against Foxtons over repair bills mark-ups’

February 26, 2016

A total of 55 landlords are said to have joined a group claim against Foxtons over “hidden” repairs mark-up allegations. Foxtons has said their case is entirely without merit, and that its charges are transparent and properly communicated. The law firm representing the landlords on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis said yesterday evening that […]

Two online agents claim high street agents earn more than any other profession

Two sets of online agents have claimed that high street agencies charge extraordinary amounts of money per hour. Both say that high street agency businesses charge far more per hour than any other profession. HouseSimple puts the figure at £691, while eMoov puts it at £922. eMoov says this is based on time taken to […]

Rightmove sets new records on all fronts as profit margin rises to over 75%

Rightmove increased its profit margin to 75.1% last year, up from 74.5% in 2014, it announced this morning. Revenue was up 15% at £192.1m, with underlying profit up 16% to £144.3m. Rightmove’s agency business was easily the main contributor to overall revenue with a year on year increase of £17.5m to £147.1m. Rightmove’s market share […]

Eight agents unite in local paper advertising campaign for OTM

A group of eight agents have placed an advert in their local newspaper this morning, telling consumers about OnTheMarket. The advert appears in the Grimsby Telegraph today, and is booked for eight weeks. It tells readers: “OnTheMarket.com has more local properties for sale than Zoopla.” The agents, all in north-east Lincolnshire, are Argyle, Bettles Miles […]

House building picks up – but still short of Government target

The supply of new homes is improving, with both starts and completions up to their highest levels since 2008. Meanwhile new home planning permissions have reached their highest level since 2008. In the December quarter of last year, starts were 37,080, up 6% on the previous quarter and up 23% on the same quarter a […]

‘Why I believe face-to-face agents are better than online’ – by ex-Ombudsman Christopher Hamer

February 25, 2016

A current major debate in the property world is whether online agents (that is those that only provide a service through electronic channels) will have an impact in the market place. Looked at objectively, such a new service provision is simply another way for consumers to buy and sell properties. However, any new concept in […]

Countrywide operating profits plunge 37%

Countrywide and Zoopla both issued news to the City today. Countrywide announced that the £19m it raised from selling almost half its shares in Zoopla will be returned to shareholders by way of a share buy-back programme. Countrywide also announced operating profits were down 37% – down from £84.9m in 2014, to £53,8m last year. […]

EYE announces some changes – let us know what you think

Today we have launched some exciting changes to EYE. When we began publishing in March of 2014 we had every confidence that EYE would be a success – but we really did not anticipate just how quickly the industry would take us to its heart and make us so popular. We are very grateful to […]

New service seeks to reduce agency fees for sellers

A new service has launched, aimed at driving agents’ fees lower for consumers in a reverse auction. At the same time, WeeFees also says it will deliver estate agents to secure leads by offering to name their fee upfront. The agent offering the lowest fee will secure the lead exclusively. WeeFees says it should cut […]