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Property market reacts to momentous Leave decision and Cameron resigns

June 24, 2016

A stunned UK woke up this morning to news that the Leave campaign has won and that there is to be a Brexit. In a further shock – and with breath-taking speed – David Cameron announced at 8.25am this morning that he is to step down as Prime Minister, although he will stay in post […]

Repossessions and arrears higher in shared ownership than private rented sector

Repossessions and rent arrears are higher among households in shared ownership than in the private rented sector. And relatively few of those in the shared ownership sector seem to be ‘staircasing’ up to full ownership. Estate agents who deal with sales of shared ownership homes might not be too surprised by the findings. The new […]

Purplebricks could expand by acquisitions, says Investors Chronicle

Lettings will be key to the future success of Purplebricks, says Investors’ Chronicle – and expect acquisitions. A blog by Ian Smith makes clear that Investors Chronicle has been “a fan” of Purplebricks when it listed on the stock market last December. The publication rated it as a buy in January when shares went down […]

‘Severe correction’ could be on cards for region with sharply rising asking prices

House prices in the east of England are rising faster than anywhere else in the UK. Search engine Home says that the region’s average asking price has risen twice as fast as the rest of the country over the last 12 months. From June 2015 to June this year, prices in the east of England […]

The Jury is back! New role for former eMoov PR man

Stephen Jury, who was formerly at eMoov where he was in charge of PR and marketing, has joined Plentific. Jury, whose very sudden departure from the online agent surprised many, told EYE: “I’m really excited to join Plentific as their head of marketing. “I met with a number of proptech firms while I was looking […]

Conveyancers get their act together ahead of ‘Son of HIPs’ call for evidence

June 23, 2016

Conveyancers have established a working group to deliver their response to the forthcoming ‘call for evidence’ on the home-buying process from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. There is still no sign of the call for evidence – dubbed son of HIPs – which was announced in the Budget over three months ago. The […]

Regardless of today’s referendum result, lettings market to be ‘unaffected’ in short term

Whatever the outcome of today’s EU referendum, lettings agents do not believe supply, demand or rental costs will be shaken or stirred – in the short term, at least. However while the private rented sector will be unfazed by the referendum result, Stamp Duty changes could continue to be an issue, according to the Association […]

New Mayor slates Boris failure to halt overseas sales of ‘golden bricks’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has criticised Boris Johnson’s flagship scheme that aimed to stop new homes in the capital being sold off-plan as ‘golden bricks’ to overseas investors. The previous mayor’s ‘Concordat’ scheme was originally unveiled as the solution to stop major developers advertising London homes abroad first for overseas buyers, often many months […]

Ambitious agent set to hit £1.5m turnover two years after launch

A sales and letting agent with national ambitions which launched less than two years ago is on track to hit £1.5m turnover in its current financial year. Ascend Properties reached its target of 1,000 managed units a year ago and now has a management book of over 1,500 properties. Sales director Ged McPartlin at the […]

Transactions will rise no matter what the result of today’s referendum

A personal view by David Cantell What’s in store for the housing market after today’s referendum? I suspect we will see more transactions whether we remain in or leave the EU. Over the last four months we have seen a stand-off between purchasers and sellers; we are in neither a buyers’ nor a sellers’ market […]

eMoov subject of follow-up complaint to advertising watchdog

June 22, 2016

Online agent eMoov has been the subject of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. The complaint, a follow-up to one made earlier, has been resolved informally. A spokesperson for the ASA said: “We received a complaint about a claim on eMoov Ltd’s website that stated ‘With 99% of advertised price achieved we get you […]

Fraud concerns as hundreds of Right to Buy homes sold to tenants on benefits

Around 16% of council homes that have been sold by ten local authorities under Right to Buy have been to tenants on housing benefit. The figures, from the trade magazine Inside Housing and which were featured on radio’s File on 4 yesterday evening, raise the question of fraud. Inside Housing contacted 40 councils which have […]

Twenty years on and this is how the UK looks after a Remain vote

Whatever the outcome of the EU Referendum tomorrow, the world is likely to continue turning on its axis come Friday. The real test will be how the UK looks in the future. Two of our superb EYE writers look into the crystal ball and imagine life from a 20-year perspective. First, Marc Shoffman on life […]

Twenty years after the vote to Leave (and look who became the US President)

Whatever the outcome of the EU Referendum tomorrow, the world is likely to continue turning on its axis come Friday. The real test will be how the UK looks in the future. Two of our great EYE writers look into the crystal ball and imagine life from a 20-year perspective. Second, Rayhan Rafiq Omar on […]

Picture of the Week: So this really is what agents mean by ‘original features’

Here is a Picture of the Week which we are in a state of swoon about. It has never been on the open sales market since being built in 1886, and to say it has original features is something of an under-statement. Check out the contents of the larder (picture 10) and the utterly splendid […]

Estate agents set to deliver Remain vote in EU referendum

June 21, 2016

Estate agents believe that a Remain vote will be a far safer option for the housing market than one to Leave. EYE’s snap poll yesterday, which ran from mid-morning through to 8pm, drew a total of 777 responses from agents. EYE did not attempt to lead the responses in any way, and our stance on […]

Purplebricks pair pick up almost £3m of shares at huge discount

The chief financial officer at Purplebricks and the wife of chief executive Michael Bruce bought shares worth £2.8m for less than £20,000 last Friday. Chief financial officer Neil Cartwright bought 1.9m shares for 1p – a tiny fraction of Friday’s share price which closed at 141.5p. It means the 48-year-old paid £19,400 for a holding […]

Rising house prices are ‘killing off’ latest Help to Buy scheme

The Government’s flagship savings scheme to help first-time buyers appears to be failing due to rising house prices. Research by the BBC, based on two-bedroom homes, found 28% of areas in England exceed the price cap for a Help to Buy Isa bonus. The Help to Buy Isa was introduced in December giving first-time buyers […]

Students’ £20m idea for shared rental market earns them a payday

A firm which specialises in the shared rental housing market has been sold for an undisclosed sum. Glide was the brainchild of two students at Birmingham University ten years ago. It aims to make sharing bills simple for tenants and letting agents by delivering one monthly bill for all utilities and services. Founded by Sandeep […]

Energy supplier to lettings industry set for management buyout

Spark Energy, the niche energy supplier to the lettings sector, has announced that a management buyout of the company is close to completion. The MBO of the business, launched in 2007, is led by CEO Chris Gauld and CFO Hamish Osborn. Four large institutional investors, including a major UK pension fund, a European family office […]

EU referendum and the housing market: We’re asking for agents’ views

June 20, 2016

How do YOU think the outcome of this Thursday’s referendum will affect the UK housing market and your business? And have you found that uncertainty has affected your business in the run-up to the vote? Amid all the hyperbole, claims and counter-claims, we are seeking the views of those on the ground, via an EYE […]

Zoopla warns of 20% fall in house prices if there is a Leave vote

Zoopla has forecast that house prices will fall 20% if there is a vote to leave in Thursday’s EU referendum. Its prediction appeared in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, which has been waging a fierce stay campaign – unlike its sister paper, the Daily Mail, which is pro-Brexit. According to yesterday’s forecasts, Zoopla says that a […]

Fury as Shadow Housing Minister claims ‘landlords cause homelessness’

A furious landlord has written an open letter to a senior politician who claimed that landlords cause homelessness. Teresa Pearce, the shadow housing minister, said in a Westminster Hall debate on affordable housing last week: “One council in my area, Bexley, is often in the position of trying to rent or buy accommodation for homeless […]

Today’s the day as longer CHAPS hours kick in – but how will this affect completions?

Today is the day that CHAPS settlement will be extended by one hour and 40 minutes. The Clearing House Automated Payment System guarantees same-day payment so long as funds are available by a certain time on a working day. That time, from today, is now 6pm. The Bank of England expects the direct participants in […]

New asking prices hit a record high as listings dip, says Rightmove

The EU referendum has failed to dampen valuations but the number of new listings has dipped just over 5%, according to Rightmove’s House Price Index. The data shows the average price of property coming to market over the last month hitting a new high of £310,471, up 0.8% on April. This is in contrast to […]

Purplebricks new CEO in Australia starts recruitment of local property experts

The CEO of Purplebricks in Australia says the firm will launch there before Christmas. The non-traditional estate agency market is virtually non-existent in Australia, but Ryan Dinsdale said: “We would look to replicate our UK market share success in Australia.” Dinsdale, who was appointed as CEO Purplebricks Australia only this month, is also looking to […]

Here are the stories that got you talking this week

June 18, 2016

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, here is what has caught our eye. First: Market correction? Lending and listing data out this week showed we could be heading for a market correction after the buy-to-let stamp duty rush boosted sales in March. Figures from the Agency Express Property Activity Index have shown a […]

The referendum: A lot of noise, but where are the facts?

How much will a Leave or Stay vote affect the housing market? Are George Osborne’s forecasts of doom – falling house prices and hard-to-get mortgages – should there be a Leave vote wildly inaccurate or nothing but the truth? Certainly, mortgage lending has fallen in recent weeks, but whether this has more to do with […]

Perfectly possible to offer both online and traditional options, says high street agent

June 17, 2016

A traditional estate agency model and an online agent can sit perfectly happily together in the same business, says an independent that has been successfully running both in tandem for two and a half years. Ross Jezzard, director of Jezzards which has branches in Hampton, south-west London, and Surbiton, Surrey, said that the Purplebricks mega-marketing […]

Purplebricks shares up after firm shrugs off the competition

Shares in Purplebricks bounced up yesterday after the firm announced its results for the year to the end of April and said it would move into profit this financial year. The shares finished the day at 140p after starting at 130.25p. CEO Michael Bruce yesterday was bullish, shruging off prospects of competition from the likes […]

Lettings activity sinks as new listings dip nearly 12%

Following a robust lettings market in April, May’s figures from the Agency Express Property Activity Index have shown a sharp decline in both ‘To Let’ and ‘Let’ properties. New listings were down 11.9% and properties ‘Let’ down 11.1%, marking the largest month on month decline for May since the index’s first records in 2012. All […]

Reasons NOT to use an online agent

If you are a high street agent in defensive mood, then you might like to take a look at a blog that marshals six arguments as to the pitfalls of using online agents. On the website of London agent Mountgrane Heritage, it starts by pointing out that it is the buyer who makes the saving, […]

Picture of the Week: Just admire that reflection!

Here’s yet another contender for Picture of the Week. Coming at the rate they are, we are considering changing the title of the competition that no one wants to win to Picture of the Day. This one is courtesy of Purplebricks and is the natural heir and successor to yesterday’s Curse of the Fat Finger. […]

News flash: Purplebricks upbeat as it announces sales volumes

June 16, 2016

Purplebricks sold properties worth £2.8bn in the financial year to the end of April, the agent announced to the stock market this morning. It said there were a further £1.7bn worth of homes sold subject to contract. Purplebricks also said that its instruction to sales conversion rate was over 77%, above industry norms, and described […]

Landmark case as tenant loses after claiming Human Rights should prevent eviction

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a private tenant who claimed a possession order on her home was a breach of her human rights. Lawyers say the ruling will be welcomed by private landlords and also their mortgage providers. Had the Court ruled in the tenant’s favour, it could have prevented both landlords […]

Buy-to-let market like watching a train crash in slow motion, warns agent

The buy-to-let market has been described as a slow motion train crash with a landlord exodus and much higher rents. Charles Curran, principal at Maskells Estate Agents in London, said landlords will quit the market en masse as regulatory, mortgage and tax changes kick in. He is forecasting that “high” numbers of rental properties will […]

Buy-to-let lending plunges 64% after Stamp Duty stampede

Buy-to-let lending fell 64% in a month, after the Stamp Duty deadline. But lending for home-movers and first-time buyers also dropped, by 53% and 11% respectively. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, lending to all types of borrowers fell in April on a monthly basis. Lending for home movers was also down 14% year […]

On a knife’s edge – how landlords view next week’s EU poll

The results of next week’s EU poll look far too close to call, if a survey of National Landlords Association members is anything to go by. One in three (30%) have still not made up their minds whether to vote Leave or Remain, while 35% will be voting to go and 35% to stay. They […]

Consumer champion group’s claims on estate agency ranking site are challenged by EYE

June 15, 2016

EYE has challenged the HomeOwners Alliance over claims that it has launched a new estate agency comparison tool called estateagent4me.co.uk The HomeOwners Alliance, which describes itself as the UK’s leading property advice website, says it could lead to “a home selling revolution”. The new tool was said in a press release to be “officially” launched […]

Rightmove clarifies how it charges membership for online agents

There has been some discussion as to whether firms that use self-employed local property experts – or their equivalents – should be treated as one business, or several. Earlier this month, we reported that Purplebricks’ local property experts were being individually signed up to The Property Ombudsman. This prompted speculation as to whether there might […]

New official house price index includes cash purchases

The new ‘official’ house price index made its first appearance yesterday, replacing the ones separately published by the ONS and Land Registry. It covers the whole UK and is a joint production between the Land Registry, ONS, Registers of Scotland and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland. The new index is being initially published as […]

Rental arrears fall as tenants get their finances back on track

Rental arrears fell by 4% in the first three months of the year as an improved employment market boosted tenant finances, according to letting agents Your Move and Reeds Rains’ Tenant Arrears Tracker. Research from the agents found that 86,200 tenants across the UK are more than two months behind in their rent, down from […]

Two agents resolve complaints against them to advertising watchdog

Spicerhaart and another agent, Matthews of Chester, have both informally resolved complaints made about them to the Advertising Standards Authority. A regional press advert for Matthews of Chester stated: “Rightmove ranks us 1st out of over 186 agents for New Instructions and Available Stock in the following postcodes…” It then listed 27 postcodes. A member […]

Investors told to buy shares in Purplebricks, ‘one of top four agents by volume’

June 14, 2016

Investors have been urged to buy shares in Purplebricks. In his Inside the City column, Sunday Times writer Danny Fortson tipped the stock ahead of Purplebricks’ results this Thursday. He said the firm is expected to report a loss on £18m turnover. Purplebricks, notes Fortson, has bucked the trend where shares in Foxtons, Savills and […]

Don’t blame Brexit for London slump, Chancellor is told – you’re the cause

Chancellor George Osborne has been told in no uncertain terms not to blame any decision to leave the EU for damaging the housing market. London agent Maskells has told Osborne that the market is already damaged, and that he is the cause because of hikes to Stamp Duty on more expensive homes. Its data shows […]

Surprise, surprise! House that is ‘confidentially for sale’ pops up on Zoopla

Here’s a contender for Picture of the Week and we spotted it on Zoopla yesterday. Which was in itself odd – as the property is “confidentially for sale”. The house, on at £4,350,000 with de Mallet Morgan, is instantly recognisable as the home of the late Cilla Black. No doubt that’s why the listing is […]

Rightmove’s ‘find your happy’ campaign is one of the greats

Rightmove’s ‘find your happy’ campaign has been picked out by marketing experts as one of the best examples of content marketing in the property industry. Eword says that the campaign, which began in 2014, works because it connects with people – “everyone has their own idea of what their ideal home would be”. The campaign […]

Chestertons launches new adverts featuring its own clients

Chestertons has launched a new London-wide advertising campaign featuring its own clients. The genuine testimonials are shown in a series of posters and Tube cards across the capital. There are also London press ads booked over the next fortnight, as well as online banners on Rightmove and other digital platforms. The target market is ABC1 […]

New Bill launched in Parliament seeks to abolish letting agent fees

June 13, 2016

A new Bill has been introduced in Parliament, supported by Labour and introduced by a Lib Dem peer, which is seeking to abolish letting agents’ fees charged to tenants. The Renters Rights Bill had an unopposed second reading in the House of Lords on Friday. The Bill seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act […]

Time to head for Brexit: Let’s stop the scaremongering says Spicerhaart boss

Easier ways to end gazumping The Government is reportedly exploring new legislation to stop gazumping. However, I, for one, believe that ministers shouldn’t meddle in market forces but should focus instead on making the whole transaction process easier and smoother. At present, the average sale time is about 13 weeks. That’s three times what it […]