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Hammond urged to review Stamp Duty in Autumn Statement

November 11, 2016

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first Autumn Statement on November 23 and there is one policy on the lips of most of the property industry, Stamp Duty. Many have already called for a scrapping of the additional rate on second properties, but now Hammond is facing calls for exemptions for certain buyers. Rob Ellice, […]

HSE proposes changing gas safety check timing

The Health and Safety Executive is proposing moving towards an ‘MOT-style’ system for gas safety checks that it says will save landlords time and money. The body has unveiled a consultation on changing regulations that currently stipulate landlords carry out gas safety checks “at intervals of no more than 12 months since it was last […]

Property shortage is ‘dire’, RICS admits, as supply slips even further

November 10, 2016

Prospective home buyers have returned to the market following the Brexit vote – only to find there is very little out there. The RICS this morning described the property drought as “dire”, and a leading estate agent predicted that after the shock result of the US presidential election, things can only deteriorate. As Donald Trump […]

Trump card: London agents prepared for bounty after fall-out from US presidential election

Expect to see a lot more hot dog stands and American football jerseys near you, come January 2017 – that is, if you believe the hype following Republican candidate Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections. Pollsters and markets may have under-estimated voters during the EU referendum but they were totally baffled after backing Hillary […]

How ‘proper’ estate agents can put over their full service message for success

The Mayfair Office annual conference, dinner and awards evening is always a civilised affair. You are as unlikely to hear a ‘boo’ in the room as you are to glimpse a white sock. This year’s event was held at the RAF Club in Piccadilly and gathered the great and the good of the UK and […]

Merged firms of Leaders and Roman to double in size over next five years

The company that operates two of the industry’s best known brands – Leaders and Romans – has said that the combined business is to double in size within five years. Leaders and Romans merged in March under the parent title of Property Service Holdings. The combined branch network of Leaders and Romans has doubled in […]

Zoopla goes briefly off air as ‘exciting upgrades’ are installed

Zoopla’s property portal was taken off air yesterday afternoon. It appeared to be for a very short time as when we later looked, the service was fully back and running. Visitors to the site during its down time were told that some “exciting upgrades” were being installed to make their property search experience even better. […]

Future of estate agency will be customer-led as onliners increase fees, City investors agree

November 9, 2016

Investors were told yesterday that the future of estate agency will be bricks and clicks – customer, not technology, led and with a strong hint that operators such as Foxtons have got things right. They also heard that online, or hybrid, agents have been raising their prices – erasing claims about savings for sellers. The […]

Online agent told to withdraw claims about savings and speed of sales

Two complaints have been upheld by the advertising watchdog against HouseSimple – which last week won Online Estate Agent of the Year at the Negotiator awards. A complainant raised two issues to the Advertising Standards Authority relating to a poster on a London tube train. It said: “… you could just pay our usual fee […]

Agent which went into administration owing over £1m is rebranded by new owner

Penyards Country Properties, the regional firm which went into administration earlier this year owing over £1m, has rebranded as Domum. The domain, domum-property, was registered in August by Paul Grant of No 17 Marketing – the firm that bought Hampshire-based Penyards out of administration in May in a pre-packaged sale. It was said at the […]

The only way is Essex when it comes to speedy sales

The Essex postcode CM18 has topped the list of shortest time on the market over the past six years. Research by Knight Frank using its myPropertyGenius tool shows that properties in the CM18 area, which includes areas such as Harlow and Kingsmoor, had an average time on the market of just 36 days or five […]

Simon Cowell says being an estate agent was ‘most miserable’ time of his life

Simon Cowell has revealed that he was an estate agent for eight months — and says it was the most miserable time of his life. The X Factor judge made the revelation in a radio interview with Professor Jonathan Shalit. Cowell, 57, said: “After I left the music industry I was an estate agent for […]

House comes to auction with £1 reserve

The pound may be sliding in value, making everything a lot more expensive, but you may be able to stretch to this property. At £1, it’s surely the cheapest property on Rightmove at the moment, and perhaps ever. It’s a flat in Liverpool, described as an ideal as a starter home or buy-to-let and is […]

Over-55s facing a retirement housing shortfall

Just 2.6% of the UK housing stock is classed as a retirement property despite significant demand among older people, according to Knight Frank. Analysis of data from the Elderly Accommodation Counsel found around 715,000 homes loosely classed as ‘retirement housing’, ranging from age-restricted developments to close care housing, while separate research by Knight Frank found […]

Purplebricks says it does not receive all of the referral fee disclosed on conveyancing

November 8, 2016

Purplebricks has said that it does not receive all of the referral fee in online quotations. An online conveyancing quotation document we have seen spells out a legal fee of £599, and appears to explain that Purplebricks gets the lion’s share of the money – £426.50. The rest of the money would presumably go to […]

Winner of online estate agent of the year award shrugs off booing

The winner of Online Estate Agent of the Year has shrugged off booing when his category was announced at a national awards ceremony. One high street agent who was at last week’s Negotiator ceremony said he was thoroughly ashamed when mass booing broke out among the 250 or so attendees at the prestigious event – […]

The night that made me ashamed to be an estate agent – when the cheers turned to jeers

Being embarrassed to be an estate agent is not a new feeling for me. I am sure my fellow practitioners may well share my pain when, for example, at a dinner party the conversation turns to the subject of jobs. Admitting to be an estate agent often feels a little akin to admitting to be […]

Proptech estate agent Nested wins place in FCA’s pioneering programme

Proptech firm Nextday Property, which trades as Nested, has been named by the Financial Conduct Authority as part of Project Innovate’s first cohort. It means that Nested can launch its services in an authorised yet experimental environment. Nested will provide vendors with an interest-free loan for a guaranteed amount if they are unable to sell […]

Does the knowledge inside an estate agent’s head still count?

It’s tempting to think London cabbies assumed that Uber wouldn’t affect them because of The Knowledge. Whatever your view of Uber, the cabbies savagely underestimated the threat. Yes, there’s plenty to feel good about when getting into a black cab, but last week a friend took a cab from SW3 to SW18 and it cost […]

US buyers ready to play their trump card and flee to UK after election

November 7, 2016

UK estate agents are seeing booming interest from Americans looking to relocate with the US Presidential election result just hours away. Some deals are linked to the outcome of this week’s election. One agent, Toby Cockcroft, director of Croft UK Real Estate which specialises in country houses in Yorkshire, has seen inquiries increase by 50-60% […]

Orders of For Sale boards falling as new listings drop throughout UK

Boards firm Agency Express has reported that after a short burst of activity in the UK property market during September, October was much more subdued. Nationally, the number of For Sale boards converting to ‘Sold’ rose 0.3% on the previous month, while the number of new For Sale boards the firm supplied went down 11.2%. […]

Cost budgets agreed in Agents’ Mutual and Gascoigne Halman case

In the latest round of the legal battle between Agents’ Mutual and Gascoigne Halman, the Judge has approved the latter’s cost budget. This is the amount that the Connells’ owned firm is likely to be able to claim in the event that it wins. Last month, in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, Mr Justice Roth did […]

About 13% of victims move house after being burgled – should buyers be told?

More than 1m people have moved house after being burgled. A survey of 2,000 victims of burglary was carried out by Churchill Home Insurance and Dr Claire Nee of the University of Portsmouth. Nearly half said the worst aspect of being burgled was the knowledge that someone had been in their home. Victims went on […]

Foxtons’ chief financial officer steps aside to make way for successor

The chief financial officer of Foxtons is stepping down today. However, Gerard Nieslony will remain in a new role as finance director. The move was flagged up six months ago in May, after Foxtons appointed Mark Berry as its new chief financial officer. He joins from recruitment company Hays. Chairman Garry Watts said of Nieslony: […]

Agents braced for months of Brexit uncertainty and confusion

November 4, 2016

The property market is bracing itself for, at best, uncertainty and confusion, and at worst a white knuckle ride after yesterday’s High Court ruling that MPs must vote on triggering Article 50. Yesterday, as the BBC reported on the possibility of a constitutional crisis, the pound rose in value while speculation grew that Theresa May […]

Housing transactions to drop over next two years in ‘tough times’, Savills forecasts

Housing transactions will drop next year, and by 16% in 2018, as weaker sentiment and uncertainty takes hold, Savills is predicting. The forecasts, which came before judges ruled that Parliament would have to agree any Brexit deal before Article 50 is invoked, estimated that transactions would drop to 1m in 2018, down from 1.2m this […]

Rightmove ‘does not need to do much’ to stay so successful

Rightmove needs to do very little to stay as successful and as dominant as it is, says financial website The Motley Fool. Certainly Rightmove’s long-term shareholders must be remarkably grateful for a strategy that includes almost daily share buy-backs by the company, named this week as the world’s most successful property portal. Indeed, during the […]

Purplebricks is no Uber: Australian property expert gives his view on the online agent

Purplebricks will struggle in Australia because it is not a “results-based business”, a local real estate trainer has said. Tom Panos, a well-known Australian real estate expert, has given an insight as to how the Purplebricks launch is going Down Under. Speaking to Sky News in Australia, he said: “Why would an owner take the […]

15% of residential properties are leaseholds, My Home Move claims

Transactions could start taking longer due to the prevalence of leaseholds in property hotspots, My Home Move has claimed. The conveyancer analysed 21million Land Registry records since January 1995 and found that 15% of residential properties are leaseholds, bringing extra charges and considerations for buyers. Half of properties in London were found to be leaseholds, […]

Portal juggling named as a consumer scam in National Trading Standards annual report

November 3, 2016

Portal juggling is one of the scams highlighted in a new report out today from National Trading Standards. It is the first time the public have been specifically warned. Today’s annual Consumer Harm Report highlights the practice whereby agents manipulate property websites to make re-listed properties appear new on the market – and to falsify […]

Is change worth risking – or do you do better to sit back and watch?

If there’s one thing that’s made me realise how life has changed over the last few weeks, it’s the thought that clocks going back gives me an hour more to work – not an extra hour’s kip as it used to be. Being able to spend my dotage becoming a teenager again is looking more […]

Agent fined in ‘cartel’ case turns things around by winning top awards gong

Waterfords won the title of national medium estate agency of the year at Tuesday night’s Negotiator awards. The win is a significant triumph for the agent, which has branches in the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire – and shows real fighting spirit. Last year, the agency was named in a high-profile ‘cartel’ case. The […]

Persimmon unveils plans for brick factory as sales increase 19%

Persimmon is to build a new brick factory early next year as it reports ‘encouraging trading conditions’. The factory will be located near Doncaster, with building set to start in the first quarter of 2017. The house-builder said: “This exciting new extension of Persimmon’s manufacturing capabilities will enhance the support provided to the group’s house-building […]

Asking prices being cut right across central London – but don’t blame Brexit

Asking prices are being reduced right across central London. LonRes, which provides a platform for the large majority of agents in London, says that price reductions are by volume 20% higher than a year ago. The size of the price reduction has also risen – from 4.7% pre-referendum to 5.1%. A number of sellers have […]

Student tenants refuse to hand out any gongs in new property awards scheme

November 2, 2016

A category in an inaugural awards scheme for providers of student accommodation has been scrapped by the magazine Property Week after its panel of judges – students – refused to make an award. The judges criticised institutional providers of student accommodation such as private halls of residence for charging far too much, providing the wrong […]

Home Office announces date when breaching Right to Rent rules can give agents criminal records

Agents are warned that new criminal offences are being created on December 1 – less than a month away – under the Immigration Act 2016. The date was announced yesterday and will affect all agents making Right to Rent checks on behalf of landlords. The Home Office said that the new criminal offences will be […]

LSL sells last of its Zoopla shares

LSL has left Connells as the only corporate agent with a stake in Zoopla after selling its remaining shares in the portal. The parent company of Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons announced it has sold the remaining 3.5m ordinary shares it had in Zoopla Property Group for an average price of £3.17 […]

Avoid using ‘administration’ to describe your fees, ARLA tells agents

ARLA is continuing to advise letting agents not to use the term ‘administration’ in their fee schedules. Confirmation from managing director David Cox has come after a legal case in which Foxtons was effectively told by a judge that it could use terms such as “administration fee”, provided it explained what the charge covered. In […]

Agent paints gloomy picture for central London market as sales collapse almost 50%

The number of domestic buyers in prime central London has grown this year but the overall volume of sales has plummeted and it could be three years before a recovery, Strutt & Parker has warned. Using LonRes figures, the agent says there was a 4.6% uplift in UK domestic market buyers in prime central London […]

Repossessions and Making an Offer

November 1, 2016

With a trickle of repossession properties still coming to the market, and the sales market still going strong, here is our guide on repossession properties. What is a repossession property ? This may sound obvious, but it is a property where somebody has failed to keep up with payments for the property, such as their […]

Foxtons fined after ten-month breach over display of letting agent fees

Foxtons has been fined after breaching requirements to show letting agents’ fees. The breach lasted for ten months but was corrected, and the fines levied by the local authority reduced from £5,000 per branch and on the website to £3,000 each – costing the firm a total of £12,000. But in a key case for […]

Paul Smith opinion: Why are Purplebricks so cagey over sales figures?

Purplebricks’ founder Michael Bruce recently claimed the company “sold 88% of its instructions within ten months” in response to a complaint on BBC Radio 4′s Moneybox programme. We, along with everyone else I’m sure, would like to know how he arrived at those figures and whether those who’ve already dropped out of the selling process […]

Ombudsman issues clarification for agents perplexed by change in Code

The Property Ombudsman has moved to clarify a change in its Lettings Code about agents obtaining express consent from a tenant before accessing a property. The amended paragraph in the Code states: “Access to a property may be required by you, or an authorized third party on behalf of the landlord (eg a surveyor, builder, […]

Age UK warns that older renters are living in ‘squalor and distress’

Age UK is calling for more support for those on old-style tenancies as the renting population looks set to get older. The charity warns that increasing numbers of over-65s are set to enter the rental sector due to the decline in home ownership and uses a new report to highlight how older renters are currently […]

Tuesday morning – the busiest time of the week for agents?

Estate and letting agents seem to be out and about most on a Tuesday morning, if new research from Moneypenny is anything to go by. The telephone answering service handles the most calls that are missed by agents between 10am and 11am on Tuesday. This is followed by 9am-10am on Tuesday and 9am-10am on Monday. […]

We will not ban rogue letting agents from sales or vice versa, says housing minister

October 31, 2016

The Government has no plans to ban estate agents who have been banned from lettings, and no plans to ban prohibited letting agents from sales. Ministers also have no plans to make publicly available a register of banned letting agents – due to come into force next year. Housing minister Gavin Barwell made both these […]

Uber ruling on self-employed people will not affect us, says Purplebricks

A legal ruling giving Uber drivers the right to be classed as employees has no implications for Purplebricks, the agent has told EYE. Uber drivers, previously treated as self-employed, will now be entitled to the national living wage, holiday and sick pay, after an employment tribunal decision on Friday. Uber insists that it does not […]

New sales progression service launches – with agents invited to ask for a test drive

A new service launches today which is designed to let agents keep track of sales progressions through cloud-based technology. It has been tested with some agents, but from today, View My Chain is available to the wider market with agents of all sizes being able to request a “test drive”. View My Chain is said […]

More consumers know about Zoopla than Rightmove says ZPG, as brand awareness gap widens

Consumers continue to have more brand awareness of Zoopla than of Rightmove, it has been claimed. Zoopla said that new research, conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive, reveals Zoopla’s total brand awareness at an all-time high and the gap over Rightmove has widened. The research, questioning over 1,100 adults across the UK during the […]

A sad sight – a closed John D Wood office, wearing nothing but its branding

Here is a sad sight to walk past. It is the very firmly closed office of Countrywide brand John D Wood in Clapham, south London. Incidentally, it is next door to Marsh & Parsons, with James Pendleton a few doors away – both of which were seen to be busy at the time this photo […]