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Housing market continues to hold its breath as uncertainty continues

August 11, 2016

Housing transactions fell 20% in the second quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2015, the LSL/Acadata survey reported this morning. But it said this had more to do with the Stamp Duty deadline than with nervousness in the run-up to the referendum. The survey also said that while annual house price […]

Picture of the Week: So, it’s a move to the country you’re after?

Fancy a move to the country? Well, this could be right up your street – sorry, we mean your sleepy country lane where nightingales sing, owls screech, cows moo, and the Countryside team is about to feature hedge laying. The address is Hemel Hempstead, which the ever-reliable Wikipedia tells us is a new town with […]

And here’s another contender for Picture (sorry, Pokemon) of the Week

Here is Picture of the Week number two. It is a flat complete with Pokemon Go figures and they’re not just in every room but outside too. The property, in Clapham, London, is on the market with online agent Settled at £588,000. Apparently it was the idea of seller Charlotte Williams, a fan of the […]

The tout that went far too far – and got slammed on Facebook

What was most certainly a tout too far has ended up on Facebook, with the poster pillorying the agents responsible We hasten to say it happened in Canada and not the UK, but even at this distance it is truly shocking. Two agents – both women – were door-knocking in an area and found that […]

Buyers scrimping on surveys as they try to keep purchasing costs down

August 10, 2016

Home buyers are scrimping on surveys to keep down their property purchase costs but could end up with a big repair bill as a result, a firm of insurers has warned. A poll of 2,000 home owners by Churchill found that 14% of buyers who have purchased a property in the past 20 years didn’t […]

Marketing service for estate agents launches after acquisition of domain name

A business offering to estate agents is setting out its stall as offering marketing services, including videos. The Property Collection domain name was registered by Claire Cook on February 5 this year, with the registrant’s address given as 9 Compass Point Business Park, St Ives, near Peterborough, see below. An address at Compass Point Business […]

Half of home owners want to push through property deals before Article 50 triggers Brexit, claim

Almost half of home owners currently buying or selling a property are planning to push through their transactions before Brexit is officially triggered using Article 50. That is the claim by removals service Bishop’s Move. Despite there being no official date given for when Article 50 will be triggered, if it is used at all, […]

Most private landlords are part-timers with just one property

The large majority of private landlords still consider property rental to be a part-time activity, and most manage their portfolios as private individuals rather than as companies. A new survey from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, together with specialist lender BDRC and the London School of Economics, updates one from 2010. Six years on, there […]

Landlords may have to spend up to £5,000 to keep rental homes in the market

Government officials have estimated it could cost landlords between £1,800 and £5,000 to bring energy-inefficient properties up to an EPC rating of E. That will become the legal minimum for private rented properties when new regulations come into force in England and Wales from 2018. Properties with EPC ratings of F and G will be […]

Industry veteran Michael Stoop steps down as group managing director at Property Franchise Group

August 9, 2016

Michael Stoop has retired from his position as group managing director at what was formerly Martin & Co and is now The Property Franchise Group. He had held the position for less than two years and is not being replaced. Despite his retirement, he has set up a new business. However, Stoop will continue as […]

Savills delivers latest results to the City

Transaction revenue in Savills’ UK business was down 5% in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year. The firm reported that transaction advisory income was down from £93.7m to £89.3m. The drop was driven by a 23% decline in income on the commercial side – down from £41.9m to […]

Purplebricks is the star of my fund, Woodford tells investors

Fund manager Neil Woodford has picked out Purplebricks as the star of his Woodford Patient Capital Trust. The trust, which backs a number of new businesses, launched in April last year after Woodford raised a record £800m from investors prepared to wait for their money to come good. But the trust’s performance has lagged since. […]

Employee who stole from agent is jailed for four months

A fraudster has been jailed for four months after defrauding the agency where she worked. Kelly Jane Hodd, 28, now unemployed, had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by abuse of position. She had defrauded JMA Associates, St Leonards on Sea, where she worked as an administrator, out of £4,720. Sussex Police said […]

Man admits his dangerous driving caused horror crash in which agent lost both legs

A man has admitted causing a crash that resulted in an estate agent having both legs amputated. Jan Adamec, 40, drove into Shaun Whiter, who is branch manager at David Lee in Stanstead, Essex, as he was helping a friend change a flat tyre in Newmarket, Suffolk. Adamec did not stop. Both Shaun and his […]

Three-year nightmare for man who cannot sell the home he paid for but doesn’t own

August 8, 2016

A man who is trying to sell his flat has hit an unusual obstacle. He does not own it. Chris Meyer, 35, owns the one next door to the flat where he has lived for the last six years. Meyer has been living at 8 Willow Court, Carlisle. But a mix-up with Land Registry documents […]

This is indeed a property legal nightmare of the highest order, says Hailstone

It seems that Chris Meyer, a flat owner in Carlisle, has been living in the wrong flat for six years. To make matters worse it looks like ten of the other 15 flat owners in that block are also in the wrong flats. To cap it all, some poor bod, living in the correct flat, […]

Conveyancers add their voices to calls for Stamp Duty to be scrapped

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers has become the latest body to call for Stamp Duty Land Tax to be scrapped. It said that there are additional benefits to those propounded by the TaxPayers’Alliance, which give even greater reason for the Government to give serious consideration to the proposal. Simon Law, chairman of SLC, said: “Stamp […]

Consultation about changes at Countrywide under way

Countrywide has declined to comment on reports that it has sent At Risk notifications to branches warning of possible closures. Yesterday, a spokesperson said: “It would be inappropriate to comment further on this during the period of consultation. For clarity, the statement issued is our response to your enquiry.” The firm had earlier denied a […]

The Local Property Experts building up their businesses on the back of Purplebricks

Our story last week about Purplebricks’ mammoth recruitment drive for new Local Property Experts drew some interesting comment. And none more so than this – which, as it was posted fairly late, you may have missed and it is therefore reproduced below: “I have mixed feelings about Purplebricks as a brand. The positive is that […]

Property healthcheck: How have the listed agents fared on the stockmarket after reporting season?

August 6, 2016

It has been a busy reporting season for listed estate agents marked by just one major event, the Brexit vote. All but one, Belvoir Lettings, have seen their stock fall in the first half of the year, with many being hit in the days after the EU referendum result in June. Foxtons, Savills and Countrywide […]

These are the stories that you were talking about this week

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, here is what has caught our eye. First: Online agents How do you know if an online agent has sold a property? Well usually it helps if a traditional agent doesn’t claim it. Recently, the Mail reported that a buyer got a bargain when he paid £17m […]

More upheaval at Countrywide as firm continues to uphold its Building our Future strategy

August 5, 2016

The UK’s largest estate agent has confirmed the departure of another key player while defending its Building our Future strategy. Client services director Ian Brownridge, who was also operations director at Countrywide brand Faron Sutaria, has left. Insiders say this was at short notice with the departure happening on July 31. Brownridge had been appointed […]

First-time buyers to be hit by cut in interest rates, warns NAEA boss

The property industry is still absorbing yesterday’s interest rate cut to 0.25%, together with the warning that interest rates could be zero by the end of this year. The consensus is that the cut could be welcome news to home owners on tracker mortgages, and possibly to other borrowers, and provide a boost to investment […]

Halifax publishes first set of house price data since Brexit vote

Average house prices went down 1% in July – the month after the referendum. The Halifax said that the average price stood at £214,678 last month. However, the figure given by the lender was “seasonally adjusted”. Despite July’s dip, annual house inflation was 8.4%, and quarterly house price inflation 1.6%. Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: […]

Corbyn’s rent controls ‘won’t work’ say landlord bodies

Landlord groups have hit back at Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge for rent controls. Corbyn, who is facing a leadership challenge from Owen Smith, yesterday announced ten promises his party would deliver if he became prime minister. He said he would build a million new homes in five years, half of them council homes, […]

Housing protestors succeed in shutting down three Savills branches for a day

Housing activists targeted four branches of Savills in south London last weekend in protest at social housing policy. Three branches shut down for the day. The demonstrators, in a small-scale protest that looked to be about ten people in one video clip, made their presence felt at Savills in Northcote Road, Clapham, and marched past […]

Online agent did not sell £17m home – we did, says Knight Frank

August 4, 2016

The Mail seemed to think that the buyer got a bargain when he paid £17m for a home originally marketed at £24m by a firm called My Online Estate Agent, while the vendor apparently saved a substantial six-figure sum by using an online firm. The online agent, which charges sellers £495, was said by the […]

Conveyancers demand reforms to ‘nightmarish’ delays for leasehold transactions

The Conveyancing Association has come up with recommendations to end delays and rip-off charges when leasehold homes are bought and sold. Delays can be so prolonged that at best, they try the patience of agents and clients, and at worst sales fall through and chains collapse. The Association says that reform is badly needed, with […]

Buying agents accused of using Leave vote to talk down property market

Are buying agents talking down the property market for their own gain? That is the claim of Guy Gittins, sales director of London agents Chestertons. Writing in City AM, he questions the negative press coverage of the property market since the Brexit vote, stating: “What has been frustrating is some of the negative reporting on […]

Two-year slowdown in London property market ‘nothing to do with Brexit’

Brexit has failed to harm the prime central London market and Stamp Duty is actually the biggest factor on deals, data suggests. Figures from Knight Frank show the number of viewings in June was 17% higher than the same month in 2015, and up 40.8% over the past six months. Buyers have typically requested a […]

Landlord who failed to repair ‘unfit’ flat is hit with bill of almost £18,000

The landlord of a flat is almost £18,000 worse off and has a criminal record after being punished in court for refusing to make vital renovations to his rental property. Paul Fenton, who lives in the leafy Hertfordshire village of Radlett, pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates Court to offences under the Housing Act 2006, having […]

Purplebricks ramps up huge recruitment drive for local property experts across the country

August 3, 2016

Hybrid agent Purplebricks is recruiting local property experts in a huge number of areas right across Britain, telling applicants that they could be earning nearly £100,000 a year. The recruitment advert posted by Powerhouse Recruitment on the Reed jobs portal does not name Purplebricks but says its client is the third largest estate agency in […]

Home ownership collapses to lowest levels for 30 years

A report indicating that home ownership has plummeted in England shows the growing importance of the rental sector and need for more homes, says a lender. English home ownership levels have fallen to the lowest levels since 1986, according to a report released by the think tank Resolution Foundation yesterday. It said that home ownership […]

Developer calls on new Chancellor to bin ‘tax on moving’ Stamp Duty

There has been a new call for Chancellor Philip Hammond to bin Stamp Duty Land Tax. This time it has come from a developer, Gus Zogolovitch, who specialises in building bespoke homes. He said the tax discourages people from moving at all, including potential downsizers who might otherwise be happy to move into smaller properties […]

Congratulations to agent receiving top award from university

Estate agent Stephen Ludlow has received a top award from his old university. Ludlow, who is executive chairman of LudlowThompson, received the 2016 Chancellor’s Prize for Outstanding Alumni Contribution at a ceremony at the University of Roehampton. Ludlow took a degree in businesss studies at Roehampton and sits on its council. He is also vice-chair […]

Online agent Settled says it has raised £1m seed funding

Online property platform Settled has announced £1m in seed funding from US venture capital firm 500 Startups. Founded by siblings Gemma and Paul Young, Settled launched earlier this year and says it has helped its customers sell over £50m worth of property. Paul Young said: “While a number of property tech start-ups are active in […]

Countrywide ‘getting ready to shut 62 offices and make redundancies’

August 2, 2016

Countrywide is said to be close to shutting 62 offices and making redundancies. We invited Countrywide, the UK’s largest agent, to comment. We also asked whether the closures would all be in London as per the Countrywide statement last week, and to give some idea as to the number of redundancies involved. The Countrywide response […]

Conman who posed as letting agent to fleece tenants is jailed after serving time for same fraud

A fraudster who posed as a letting agent and conned tenants out of over £25,000 has been jailed. Seven years ago, Adam Coote, 36, from Shoreditch London, was jailed for an identical scam, when he used a different name plus what was described as a string of pseudonyms. The case once again highlights the worrying […]

LSL reports strong results despite warning on profits

LSL this morning reported strong results for the first half of this year. This was despite posting a warning on profits last month. Group revenue, it said in interim results delivered to the City, was up 8% to £151.4m, with growth in estate agency up 9%. Pre-tax profits soared 35% across the group to £8.4m, […]

NAEA boss Mark Hayward says portal juggling cannot be condoned

The potential scandal of ‘portal juggling’ has made it into The Times. The story addresses the practice of repeated re-listings on the likes of Rightmove and the concerns about how this could be distorting the market and misleading consumers. The story quotes Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, who told The Times: “Portal juggling […]

Estate agent ‘sexually attacked’ during viewing, hearing is told

A paramedic is accused of attempting a sex assault on an estate agent while she was showing his house to potential buyers, a misconduct hearing was told. Dean Mahony, 41, was accused of pinning the woman agent down on his bed only to be disturbed when would-be buyers rang the doorbell. Mahony allegedly attacked the […]

Agent expresses ‘surprise’ at listings beings removed from OnTheMarket

August 1, 2016

Connells Group brand Rook Matthews Sayer has said it is “surprised” that its properties have been removed from OnTheMarket. It said it had been willing to carry on supporting OTM and insisted that the ‘one other portal’ rule infringes competition law. As reported on EYE, the north-east firm, acquired by Connells Group in March this […]

Don’t blame Brexit for every woe in property market – blame George!

Brexit can’t be used as an excuse for every problem in the property market: that is the consensus emerging among some commentators as yet more mixed data emerges on the property market in the wake of the EU referendum. They say Stamp Duty changes imposed by previous Chancellor George Osborne have had far more of […]

Couple to face trial over allegations of rental deposits worth nearly £43,000

Agency owners are facing trial at Crown Court after allegations that they kept £42,700 of rental deposits. George and Kim Overill, of Thorpe, Essex, are being prosecuted by Essex Trading Standards. They appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court where they pleaded not guilty to charges that their firms, Oakpark Asset Management and Oakpark Properties, allegedly failed […]

Foxtons shares flutter downwards after its 42% fall in profits

Foxtons’ shares stuttered downwards on Friday after the firm announced its results for the first half of this year. The shares opened at 120p but finished at 111p after Foxtons revealed a 42% fall in pre-tax profits and the scrapping of its special dividend, costing £8.5m last year. Foxtons is also to slow its rate […]

RICS advises surveyors that customers should be cautioned about post-Brexit valuations

Are agents experiencing any increase in uncertain valuations in the wake of the Brexit vote and do you consider them to be down valuations? The RICS has published advice on its website to members about valuations post-Brexit. It strongly implies that surveyors may be in danger of stating too high a price in their valuation […]

What are members of the public looking for in terms of house prices on Google?

July 30, 2016

Data is starting to emerge of the post-Brexit vote property market. The picture has been mixed with RICS reporting that new buyer inquiries in the run-up to and aftermath of the EU referendum fell to their lowest reading since mid-2008, but Rightmove says listings on the portal have held steady. Meanwhile Nationwide’s July house price […]

The stories that caught our EYE this week

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, and here is what has caught our eye. First: Brexit blues Results season has begun among many of the big agency and property brands, and rather predictably, Brexit is being blamed for lacklustre performance. Connells group chief executive David Livesey said that in the three weeks prior […]

NEWS FLASH: Foxtons announces huge fall in profits

July 29, 2016

Foxtons this morning announced a huge tumble in profits for the first half of this year, down by over 42%. It also cancelled its special dividend. Pre-tax profits of £10.5m fell from £18.1m for the same period last year. Adjusted earnings before costs (EBITDA) were hit, down from £20.5m last year to £13.1m. Group revenue […]

Stakes get higher as OTM listings by Connells firm are taken down after alleged breach

Listings for Rook Matthews Sayer have been removed from OnTheMarket. The 17-office firm in the north-east was acquired by Connells Group in March. Previously, as an independent, Rook Matthews Sayer had been an early supporter of OTM and partner Clive Rook was on the Agents’ Mutual board. As recently reported by EYE, Rook Matthews Sayer […]