Suttons City Living Blog

How agents’ windows are putting public in the OTM picture

January 24, 2015

| January 24, 2015 Well, we did ask … Have you changed your window displays ahead of OnTheMarket’s launch on Monday? We have, it is fair to say, been inundated. So, apologies if we haven’t picked out yours among the many – it has been difficult to choose. However, it is fair to say that […]

Big T takes on Mightmove and the Shard

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | January 24, 2015 I can only hope that a few of you felt, after last week’s initial diatribe, that you would like to join me in my ramblings through the trees of the property wood once again, after so long […]

Online agents join touting ploy as OTM launch draws near

January 23, 2015

| January 23, 2015 Increased levels of touting are being seen, based around OnTheMarket and whether agents are on both Rightmove and Zoopla. One online agent yesterday told Eye it has sent out some 2,200 touting letters on that theme. Online agents are allowed on both Rightmove and Zoopla but banned from OnTheMarket, which launches […]

How to get your properties off Houser – complain to US web hosting company

| January 23, 2015 An agent has succeeded in getting his properties removed from controversial site Houser a week after he first requested it. Mark Rowe, of RPS Estate and Letting Agents in Lee on the Solent, Hampshire, wrote to Houser’s US hosting company, Rackspace, claiming copyright infringement. abuse@rackspace.com emailed back, saying: “I’m writing on […]

House prices tiptoe up, but lenders make things so much harder

| January 23, 2015 House prices increased by 0.4% last month to reach 8.3% annual inflation during 2014, Hometrack said this morning. But there were big regional variations and Hometrack said the rate of growth has plateaued and is now set to slow. In its new analysis of UK cities, it said there are now […]

New Property Search Website ? – www.OnTheMarket.com

January 22, 2015

There is a new property search website being launched at the end of this month, www.OnTheMarket.com . This new website  is squaring up against the two well established giants, Rightmove and Zoopla. The difference with OnTheMarket.com is that it is 100% owned and run by estate agents rather than shareholders. This new website is also only […]

Countrywide in touting dispute admits letters ‘may have been misleading’

| January 22, 2015 Countrywide has stepped down in its row over touting letters. Spicerhaart, an OnTheMarket agent, had highlighted letters sent to its vendors. Another OnTheMarket agent also told Eye yesterday that Countrywide had sent out a letter to vendors. Last night, while not mentioning Spicerhaart or any other agent by name, a spokesperson […]

Agent loses out on Countrywide instruction over OTM allegiance

| January 22, 2015 An agent instructed by Countrywide on a repossession lost out after Countrywide learned that the firm would be listing with OnTheMarket. Thomas Morris in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, was instructed as a “key-holding agent” by Countrywide Corporate Property Services – Countrywide’s asset management arm. In an exchange of emails seen by Eye, […]

Carphone Warehouse founder ploughs £5m into online agency

| January 22, 2015 Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone has invested £5m into an online estate agent. The investment, made with Dunstone’s business partner Roger Taylor, has benefited HouseSimple. Dunstone, who is chairman of TalkTalk and Dixons Carphone, said: “We believe estate agency is going to change considerably, with the future increasingly belonging to […]

Cluttons reports ‘excellent’ results and expansion plans

| January 22, 2015 Cluttons has announced strong results for the year ended March 31, 2014, and said that it is planning further expansion this year – its 250th anniversary. Turnover was up by 11% at £41.2m with profits before tax up 36% to £10.9m. Net debt was reduced during the year from £1.85m to […]

Zoopla sees record start to the year

| January 22, 2015 Zoopla has reported record levels of both website and mobile activity from January 1–13, with new highs seen in the number of visits across its platform. On January 13 the Zoopla sites received a record level of traffic at just under 2m visits in a single day, with traffic for the […]

Spicerhaart threatens to sue Countrywide over ‘poaching clients’ in OTM row

January 20, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Spicerhaart is threatening to sue rival chain Countrywide over what it calls “an attempt to poach its customers” before next Monday’s launch of OnTheMarket. Spicerhaart says it will, if necessary, seek a High Court injunction, claiming that Countrywide agents have written to Spicerhaart clients claiming that Spicerhaart […]

Online agent Hatched resigns from NAEA in OTM protest

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Online estate agent Adam Day of Hatched has resigned from the NAEA over its support for OnTheMarket – which will ban online agents when it launches next Monday. Day has accused the NAEA of hypocrisy in accepting his money for membership while supporting an organisation that excludes […]

The countdown continues: OnTheMarket launch sticks to timetable

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 With six days to go, over 4,600 branches have signed up to OnTheMarket, equating to 93% of the original 5,000 target and with numbers continuing to rise daily. However, not all of the newest members will be on the site at launch next Monday – and it […]

Countrywide’s buying spree of letting agents set to continue

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Countrywide spent £40m acquiring 29 lettings businesses last year, it has disclosed. Since 2007, Countrywide has invested over £100m in acquiring over 100 lettings businesses throughout England and Scotland. Last year’s acquisitions included Tucker Gardner, a well established business in Cambridgeshire, full service lettings agency Personal Homefinders […]

Former Douglas & Gordon boss Ivor Dickinson joins ambitious Lomond Capital

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Ivor Dickinson, former managing director of London’s Douglas & Gordon, has joined highly acquisitive Lomond Capital as regional chief executive. His role will be to accelerate Lomond’s presence in the south of England. Scottish-headquartered Lomond Capital has been expanding throughout Scotland by a series of major acquisitions […]

‘More and more agents’ are choosing OTM, says Rightmove in letter for public

January 19, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 A letter drafted by Rightmove for agents to send to their clients explaining their “one other portal” decision says that OnTheMarket will grow its audience. The letter emphasises Rightmove’s own lead position in the market, but could be seen to recognise OnTheMarket as a strong challenger. The […]

Agree you ‘don’t care’ about customers, Houser tells agents wanting out

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 Estate agents demanding to have their properties removed from Houser are being told to agree they “don’t care” about their businesses or customers. One agent, Jackie Oliver, whose firm is in Towcester, Northamptonshire, said she thought Houser’s attitude was appalling. She said: “It is disgraceful behaviour.” She, […]

It’s the final countdown: one week to OnTheMarket

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 With one week to go, agents and local papers are uniting to publicise OnTheMarket. Below is how one – the Property Echo in Grimsby – is handling the message. Meanwhile, another London agent dealing with premium properties, W A Ellis, told Eye yesterday that it is dropping […]

New company sets out be the ‘London stock exchange’ for property

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 A new company launches today with ambitions to be to residential property what the London Stock Exchange is to shares. Property Partner will buy rental properties and allow investors to chip in anything from £50 upwards to become the owners. The investors will earn ‘dividends’ from their […]

Home hunters give Rightmove record start to year

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 Rightmove has reported a record start to 2015, with the most page views ever in a single day last Sunday, January 11. In the first 13 days of this month, site traffic was up 10% on the same period a year ago. However, buyers have little to […]

It’s the return of Big T: This, That and Very Little of the Other

January 16, 2015

Trevor Kent It’s the return of Big T: This, That and Very Little of the Other Written by: Trevor Kent | January 16, 2015 This, That and Very Little of the Other – Trevor Kent may muse in future editions Our glamorous and perspicacious editrix has asked me if I would care to revisit my […]

Agent that ‘underpaid staff’ tops official ‘name and shame’ list

| January 16, 2015 An award-winning agent tops the list of the government’s latest ‘name and shame’ list of employers that have underpaid their workers. Kings Group, headquartered in Hertfordshire, has had both its estate agency and lettings agency arms listed after not paying the minimum wage. It had underpaid 43 members of its estate […]

Anger grows as Houser says removing listings will ‘hurt consumers’

| January 16, 2015 Agents who are demanding that their properties are removed from Houser are being told to tick a box saying: “I understand that taking down my information and listings will negatively affect consumers.” One agent told Eye they find such a condition totally unacceptable and that they had refused to tick the […]

No decline in house prices despite weakening demand – RICS

| January 16, 2015 The number of applicants dipped for the sixth consecutive month in December and price growth fell to its slowest pace since May 2013, according to the latest RICS survey. The weakest demand was in London where there was an eighth consecutive monthly decline. However, the RICS says that despite weakening demand, […]

‘It’s looking good for 2015 after Stamp Duty reforms’ says conveyancing firm

| January 16, 2015 Bulk conveyancing firm myhomemove has expressed optimism about the housing market this year, saying that Stamp Duty Land Tax reforms announced last month will give it a boost. As already reported in Eye, the firm was astonished by the sheer amount of business being done by agents in terms of sales […]

Rents still going up, according to LSL

| January 16, 2015 Rents started this year 3% up on what they were 12 months ago, according to LSL, parent company of Your Move and Reeds Rains. The average monthly rent in England and Wales stood at £767 in December compared with £745 in December 2013. There was a tiny 0.1% fall in rents […]

OnTheMarket and the gloves are off – is this city typical?

January 14, 2015

| January 14, 2015 Another agent in up-market Winchester has announced that it will be dropping Zoopla when OnTheMarket launches on January 26. Belgarum said that along with “many other Winchester agents” it will be using OnTheMarket. It said: “After extensive research, Belgarum have decided to cease advertising on Zoopla, given the majority of traffic […]

House price rises going off the boil, says ONS

| January 14, 2015 House prices across the UK went up by an average of 10% in the year to last November, the Office for National Statistics has said. However, this was driven by an annual increase in London of 15.3%, 11.9% in the east and 10.8% in the south-east. Excluding London and the south-east, […]

Landlords call for voluntary schemes – to let councils go after rogues

| January 14, 2015 A new system of “co-regulation” for the private rented sector is being proposed ahead of May’s General Election. It is part of a “manifesto” being launched in Westminster this morning by the Residential Landlords Association. The RLA is suggesting that landlords in all local authority areas could sign up to voluntary […]

Tenants should get refunds if properties are unsound, call

| January 14, 2015 Citizens Advice is calling for tenants to get their money back if the property is unsound. In its report, Renting Uncovered, the charity says private tenants should have the legal right to refunds if the property they are living in is structurally unsound, has unsafe wiring or has damp or mould. […]

Millions wasted on housing benefit fraud payments and errors

| January 14, 2015 The Government’s own spending watchdog has hit out at overpayments made to benefit claimants, particularly those on housing benefit. The Public Accounts Committee has criticised the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to tackle fraud and for making mistakes. DWP is found to have overpaid benefits to the tune of […]

Traditional agents beating online rivals at their own game

January 13, 2015

| January 13, 2015 Traditional agents are doing better than online agents – online. An independent report by digital customer service and sales firm The Chat Shop looked at five online agents and five traditional agents. It found that Knight Frank leads the way in social media, with the highest number of followers and interaction […]

Row grows over Houser taking agents’ listings without consent

| January 13, 2015 The row over new portal Houser taking listings from estate agents’ sites without their knowledge or consent continues. Advice can now be passed on to agents to get their listings removed, if that is what they want, and also how to deal with vendors who might be tempted to have their […]

Chestertons expands in Saudi Arabia as it hunts down London buyers

| January 13, 2015 Chestertons has announced plans to expand across Saudi Arabia. The firm has entered into a joint venture agreement with Saudi-based MEDAD Valuation International. The deal gives Chestertons offices in three major cities – Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar – together with valuable brand presence and a stronger residential sales pipeline for […]

Carter Jonas strengthens presence in east of country with acquisition

| January 13, 2015 Carter Jonas has been on a new buying spree, snapping up Cambridge property companies. The firm is acquiring the New Square Holdings Group which consists of estate and letting agents Bradshaws and commercial firm Januarys. The price has not been disclosed. The acquisition will be effective from January 30, and will […]

Sequence firm buys an old friend in Adrian Cole & Partners

| January 13, 2015 Brown & Merry, which is part of the Sequence UK network, has acquired independent estate agent Adrian Cole & Partners for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition marks the turning of a full circle: Adrian Cole’s original family firm was W.H. Brown, founded in the 1800s by an ancestor, William Brown. W.H. […]

Rightmove, Zoopla and Foxtons shares hammered after analyst’s warnings

January 12, 2015

| January 12, 2015 City analyst Jefferies, which advised Zoopla on last summer’s successful stock market flotation, has cut the portal’s shares from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’. It slashed Zoopla’s target share price from 320p to 180p – although the shares are now below that figure. Separately, Credit Suisse, which advised Foxtons on its stock market […]

OnTheMarket agents to demand that Houser removes their listings

| January 12, 2015 Concern is mounting among OnTheMarket agents about Houser, the new portal which is due to launch today – taking its properties direct from agents’ own websites without their authorisation. According to one agent, posting on Eye, this could breach the “one other portal” requirement. The agent said this was the response […]

New blow to Zoopla as Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward chooses Rightmove

| January 12, 2015 In a new blow to Zoopla, major London agent Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward has opted for Rightmove as its “one other portal” when OnTheMarket launches on January 26. The firm has over 50 branches across the capital. Hampshire and Surrey firm Charters, with offices in upmarket Winchester, Alton, Alresford and, shortly, […]

Fast-growing Hunters set to open 50 offices this year

| January 12, 2015 Hunters has reported rapid expansion over the last 12 months with 37 new branch openings. New businesses are in counties at a distance from the north-based head office and include Berkshire, Suffolk, Herefordshire, Wiltshire and Lincolnshire. Hunters, which opened in York 22 years ago and has reinvented itself as a franchise […]

Estate agency firm announces sudden death at 57 of managing director

| January 12, 2015 An estate agency has announced the sudden death of its managing director at the age of 57. Alan Gough, of Fraser Wood in the west midlands, died from a suspected heart attack while at the wheel of his car. He had been on a canoeing trip with a friend in the […]

Needaproperty goes out of business saying it could not compete

January 9, 2015

| January 9, 2015 Challenger portal needaproperty has ceased trading. It went out of business this week, the latest in a long line of would-be giant killers who instead became casualties. Its founder, former estate agent Scott Green, said the decision to close had been taken because of the “huge costs” involved in driving traffic, […]

‘More agents quitting Zoopla than expected’ says City analyst

| January 9, 2015 The latest City analyst’s report has suggested to investors that it is better to be “happy” than “smart”– references to, respectively, the Rightmove and Zoopla advertising campaigns. The report, from Exane BNP Paribas, says more agents are so far known to be leaving Zoopla than expected – a total of 764 […]

House prices start the year almost 8% up – Halifax

| January 9, 2015 House prices ended the year 7.8% higher than when 2014 began, the Halifax has said. It said the average UK house price was £188,858, up 0.9% in December compared with November. The lender is expecting house prices to grow 3-5% this year. Separately, Savills said that new Stamp Duty Land Tax […]

‘Our best year on record’: Fine & Country oozes success

| January 9, 2015 Fine & Country had its best year ever in 2014, with 42 new offices opening across the globe. The franchise network, a spin-off from UK marketing group the Guild of Professional Agents, also launched its new Fine & Country Golf brand and created a charity, the Fine & Country Foundation. Fine […]

Council exercises power to take over landlord’s dangerous HMO

| January 9, 2015 A landlord has been forced to hand over his property to a local council after an inspection revealed a number of people living in unsafe conditions. Councils rarely exercise their powers to take over the management of a private rented property. In this case, Aylesbury Vale District Council in Buckinghamshire has […]

Terrorism fears raised in Lords debate on rental reforms

| January 9, 2015 Proposals to allow short lets in London without the need for planning permission have raised fears about terrorism. On Wednesday in the House of Lords, hours after the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in Paris, a peer questioned the effects of the Deregulation Bill. The Government is currently consulting on proposals to allow […]

A momentous day for Agents’ Mutual – its first tweet!

| January 9, 2015 Agents’ Mutual yesterday sent out its first tweet. It said: “Good morning to all of our member agents #OnTheMarket” Agents’ Mutual – when we last looked – is following just 30 and has 750 followers. And while we’re talking about tweets, what about this promotion from Humberstones Homes. Talk about a […]

Julian O’Dell: Stock is king!

Best Practice in Estate Agency Julian O’Dell is the well known and highly respected head of TM Training. Written by: Julian O’Dell | January 9, 2015 With anecdotal and statistical data coming daily at me from every angle, reinforcing the presupposition that quality available sales and rental stock is hard to come by, it was […]