Suttons City Living Blog

Fund manager takes huge punt on investing in property portal

November 21, 2014

The extraordinary nature of the property portal market took an unexpected twist this week when a 30-year-old Australian hedge fund manager told an audience in London that his firm is investing more than it has ever done before in a single firm – US portal Zillow. It is doing so because it believes that it […]

Century 21 UK agents set to reap big windfall from deal

Shepherd Direct, the parent company of estate agency franchise business Century 21 UK, has confirmed a deal to build thousands of new private rental homes across the UK. The deal, completed this week, hands a huge amount of business to Century 21 UK franchisees – initially in the north, but eventually all over the UK. […]

OnTheMarket: local newspapers take up the story

Local newspaper readers are now starting to hear about OnTheMarket. Today this full page advertisement appears in the Grimsby Telegraph, having already appeared in yesterday’s Scunthorpe Telegraph –courtesy of DDM Residential. Is this the first time that OnTheMarket has been advertised in the press? Meanwhile, OnTheMarket has also been featured in a local newspaper editorial […]

Rents across England and Wales hit new high

Rents across England and Wales hit a new record in October of £770 per month, up 1.5% (£12) over the last 12 months, LSL reported this morning. On a monthly basis, rents in October rose 0.3% (£2) compared to September. Rents in nine out of ten regions are now higher than a year ago. Rents […]

Agents with local knowledge come out on top with public – Rightmove

An agent with good knowledge of the local area and market is most important to prospective sellers deciding whom to invite out to value their home, according to the latest research among thousands of Rightmove users. The findings reveal that for 74% of sellers, local knowledge is among the most important things they look for […]

Agents’ Mutual has ‘lost momentum’ – but claim by City analysts is blasted by AM

November 20, 2014

City analysts at an investment bank which has been paid by Zoopla (see Company Specific Disclosures paragraph in the report here) have produced a ‘flash’ note claiming that Agents’ Mutual has lost momentum and that “there is no news on the conversion rates of ‘letters of intent’ to contracts”. The update by Jefferies on Zoopla […]

Advertising watchdog rules against ‘quick home buying’ company

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that claims made by a ‘fast home buying’ company that it was not an estate agent were misleading. We Buy Any House – which has no connection with other companies that may have similar names – was also ruled to having misled the public because it suggested that it […]

Man who burst into agent’s office screaming obscenities caught on camera

An angry man who burst into a letting agent’s office, screaming obscenities at the three women staff present and throwing items from desks, was caught on the firm’s CCTV. Staff at Lovett International in Boscombe, Bournemouth, say the same man shouted at staff in a different branch nearby two weeks earlier. But, say the agents, […]

New tenancy referencing service launches as immigration checks loom for agents

New tenancy referencing checks that take account of the immigration status of prospective tenants are being launched by Let Alliance. The firm will also protect letting agents from any penalties incurred from the Home Office. The so-called Right to Rent checks are part of the Immigration Act. A trial is starting in parts of the […]

Eye survey: How much are you paying the portals?

| November 20, 2014 The Eye portal price survey has already achieved a level of participation far in excess of expectation. Before launching the survey last week, we anticipated receiving something around 500 responses in total, but to date we have achieved 1,000 and there is still more than a week to go. Eye managing […]

Online agents make a lot of noise – but (so far) are not a game changer

| November 20, 2014 Online agents have been good at making a lot of noise – but little else so far. They have been around for some time, says Cheshire agent Maurice Kilbride, “but they haven’t exactly been a game changer”. But he does warn high street agents that they should not dismiss online agents […]

Vanessa records another busy week

| November 20, 2014 Vanessa Warwick has had a busy week – and as a result, has a lot of information to pass on. It’s published today on our site – and it’s essential reading for both agents and landlords. Like(0) Be the first one to .

Landlords’ Barometer – #6

Trending Topics Vanessa Warwick is the Co-founder of Property Tribes forum Written by: Vanessa Warwick | November 20, 2014 Welcome to “Landlords’ Barometer #6” – trending topics for landlords and agents. I’ve had a busy week editing all the footage from the NALS Conference, but Property Tribes forum keeps on buzzing and up-dating with conversations […]

Eric Walker: Why my head hurts

November 19, 2014

| November 19, 2014 By Eric Walker My head hurts and it’s not from over-indulgence – well, not of the nice variety: rather the excessive consumption of new rules and regulations, guidelines and red tape in general. I agree with many of the principles behind these rules, but genuinely believe the didactic patronising tone is […]

Did you have sex on your honeymoon night? asks Rightmove

November 18, 2014

| November 18, 2014 Rightmove has launched an ‘alternative census’ into people’s habits. It asks about your drinking, your exercise regime and whether you have been on a diet in the last 12 months. One question is about your wedding day and whether you consummated your marriage. Aimed at consumers, people who complete it are […]

Criminal letting agent ‘pretended to be member of ARLA’

November 14, 2014

| November 14, 2014 A letting agent who defrauded customers to the tune of £68,000 could barely read or write – but nevertheless was said in court to have passed his ARLA exams. However, in an extraordinary twist, last night it emerged that Roy Jackson had never been a member of ARLA and had not […]

Rightmove reported to Trading Standards over ‘find an agent’

| November 14, 2014 An agent is reporting Rightmove to Trading Standards, citing Consumer Protection Regulations. Simon Fisher, of Absolute Sales & Lettings in Torquay, is angry that Rightmove’s local “find agents in Torquay” shows national online agents who have no offices in the Devon town. Rightmove has strongly defended itself. Among those listed for […]

CLG: Agents must reveal all tenant and landlord fees to both parties

| November 14, 2014 There was shock and anger at yesterday’s NALS conference when delegates heard that in future, letting agents will have to declare all tenant and landlord fees to both parties. Ruth Hayes, senior policy adviser at the Department for Communities and Local Government, told delegates that this will be mandatory under the […]

NALS delegates protest at more red tape for letting agents

| November 14, 2014 By: Nick Salmon Delegates to the National Approved Letting Scheme conference in London yesterday heard presentations from a rich variety of speakers. Ian Springett of Agents’ Mutual began the proceedings with an update on the progress of OnTheMarket. In the course of doing so he asked for a show of hands […]

LSL on target for best year yet – but firm urges caution

| November 14, 2014 LSL, the parent group of brands including Your Move, Reeds Rains, Marsh & Parsons, and Davis Tate, says it is on track for a record year in 2014. In an interim management statement covering July 1 to October 31, it said estate agency revenue was up 10% on the same period […]

easyProperty could float on stock market next year

November 10, 2014

| November 10, 2014 easyProperty could float on the stock market next year. The company, headed by Robert Ellice and which uses Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s “easy” brand, could join this year’s other big newcomer, on the stock exchange as Eye reported last month. easyProperty launched less than two months ago on September 17 after […]

Selling properties online – not ‘so easypeasy’ , says online agent

| November 10, 2014 An agent has said that it is “not so easypeasy” to sell properties online. Aimee Johnson, of, was responding to Eye’s story on Friday which featured high street agent Chris Wood’s analysis of an online agent’s performance in his local patch in Cornwall. Johnson said she particularly took issue with […]

Landlord hit with £280,000 bill over illegal flats

| November 10, 2014 A landlord has been told to hand over £280,000 after a judge made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. David Kohali had turned an outbuilding in Holloway, London, into six small flats some time before 2009. In that year, he was ordered by the council to stop using […]

Savills stares into crystal ball to predict 19.3% house price rises by 2019

| November 10, 2014 Heaven knows why they do it – it certainly escapes us. Just why would Savills come up with a five-year forecast for the housing market – apart from the fact that it employs 12 (yes, 12!) people in its research team. Savills is, of course, not alone in this kind of […]

Picture of the week: an early contender, but will it be beaten?

| November 10, 2014 Here’s an early contender for our picture of the week – what you might call a drive-by photo. Or, alternatively, a selfie. Look closely in the wing mirror and you’ll see what we mean. But it looks as though it’s raining, so can you blame this particular agent for not getting […]

Man sentenced after supplying agents with fake EPCs

November 7, 2014

| November 7, 2014 A man who supplied fake EPCs to estate agents has been ordered by a court to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. Neil Mackie, 48, of Gloucester, supplied a number of EPCs estate agents for houses being sold across Gloucestershire between March and May 2013, even though his membership of […]

Selling online? It’s not so easypeasy, says high street agent

| November 7, 2014 Online agents have failed to sell up to 82% of every home that “they have taken money from this year”, a high street agent has claimed. Furthermore, one seller who “saved” on agents’ fees was actually worse off by around £21,000. Their property was sold for £25,000 less than a very […]

Rightmove’s shares slide despite upbeat statement to City

| November 7, 2014 Yesterday’s slide in Rightmove share prices came after an upbeat management update – and after another City analyst gave it a strong “outperform” rating. William Packer, of Exane BNP Paribas, said that he had expected a slowdown in Rightmove’s new homes business in the second half of this year. However, Rightmove […]

Mortgage time bomb ready to explode for thousands of borrowers

| November 7, 2014 A ‘mortgage time bomb’ is looming for people aged over 50 with interest-only mortgages and who had hoped that an endowment would clear the lump sum, typically after 25 years. Some million such borrowers who are rapidly reaching the end of the mortgage period say the endowment will fall short. According […]

ID fraudsters target young working tenants

| November 7, 2014 Young working tenants should be warned that their living arrangements and lifestyles are exposing them to identity fraud. They have become a prime target for identity thieves, overtaking rich home owners with bulging bank accounts. New research shows that private tenants in their twenties and thirties and on low to middle […]

Advertising watchdog rules against agent showing fee as 0.9% + VAT

November 6, 2014

| November 6, 2014 The advertising watchdog has upheld a complaint against an estate agent who advertised their fee as 0.9% plus VAT. The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that this was a breach, and rejected the agent’s offer to show their fee in future as 0.9% plus 20% VAT. Instead, it has ruled that […]

OnTheMarket would be ‘non-issue’ but for exclusivity clause, says Morgan Stanley

| November 6, 2014 A new report on Rightmove by investment bank Morgan Stanley says that Agents’ Mutual would be a “non-issue” if it weren’t for the exclusivity clause. The report, called Mutual Understanding, specifically looks into the threat posed by Agents’ Mutual. The report says that Morgan Stanley has now incorporated a drop of […]

Will Rightmove share prices pick up after today’s update?

| November 6, 2014 Rightmove’s share price has fallen some 25% this year. The shares ended yesterday at 2,205p, having hit a 52-week high of 2,814p and a low of 1,935p. Morgan Stanley says that its shares have underperformed by 20% this year, first on Zoopla concerns and most recently on Agents’ Mutual worries. However, […]

More tenants will put in vexatious complaints if Bill becomes law – warning

| November 6, 2014 If a new Bill becomes law, then the number of tenants putting in vexatious complaints to hold up eviction proceedings will rise. The warning has come from Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action. But Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, who is introducing the Bill, says that tenants who “try it on” by […]

Shelter embarks on battle trail again in Scotland

| November 6, 2014 Shelter has begun a new campaign in Scotland, aimed at reforming the ‘out-dated’ private rented sector. The lobbying group’s new campaign, called Making Renting Right, was launched in a rally outside the Scottish Parliament. Shelter Scotland is calling for longer-term tenancies, saying that it is seeing “too many households forced from […]

Letting agent in £70k fraud went on to work for NAEA President’s firm

November 4, 2014

| November 4, 2014 The former owner of a lettings agency could go to jail after admitting stealing nearly £70,000. The case was yesterday mentioned in the House of Lords, following a briefing by Eye. Roy Jackson, 39, ran Suffolk Lettings in Ipswich. It closed down suddenly in December 2012 after failing to pay dozens […]

No plans to make client money protection compulsory – housing minister

| November 4, 2014 Ministers have yet again rejected calls for it to be made mandatory for all letting agents to hold Client Money Protection insurance. Housing minister Brandon Lewis said in a letter to John Midgley, chair of SAFEagent: “I have no plans to make CMP compulsory.” The rejection comes as yet another scandal […]

Newest property redress scheme is accepted by ARLA

| November 4, 2014 The ARLA board has voted to accept that membership of the Property Redress Scheme meets ARLA’s own consumer redress scheme requirements as part of its membership. The PRS is the newest of the three authorised redress schemes for the private rented sector. ARLA managing director David Cox said: “We’re very pleased […]

Spicerhaart rings up millionth phone call this year

| November 4, 2014 Spicerhaart’s call centre has taken its millionth phone call of the year. The call centre, called Nexus, employs 93 people and handles calls for Spicerhaart’s five estate agency and lettings brands – haart, Chewton Rose, Felicity J Lord, Darlows and Haybrook. Spicerhaart set up Nexus a year ago. It is open […]

Blanket PRS licensing is labelled ‘an abuse of legislation’

| November 4, 2014 As a new wave of licensing proposals loom – too many for Eye to report – a landlord has hit out at a council’s plans to introduce Newham-style compulsory licensing across its entire patch, saying it is “an abuse of legislation”. Richard Blanco, who is an area representative of the National […]

Acquisition of Xperience is just the beginning, says Martin & Co boss

November 3, 2014

| November 3, 2014 The deal by which Martin & Co acquired Legal & General’s estate agency wing for £6m took ten months. But despite it taking so long, the news did not leak out at any time until the announcement to the Stock Exchange on Friday morning. Neither the 75 franchise owners within Xperience […]

TV watchdog to probe complaint about Sarah Beeny

| November 3, 2014 TV presenter Sarah Beeny has been made the subject of a complaint to Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog. According to yesterday’s Sunday Times, the allegation is that Beeny is using the Channel 4 programme about online estate agents, How to Sell Your Home, to promote her own online estate agency, Tepilo. Ofcom […]

Shamed agent placed on Sex Offenders’ Register

| November 3, 2014 A letting agent has been told to “hang his head in shame” after being placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years. Raymond Buckley, 61, a Fellow of ARLA and who runs HeadWay Lettings & Sales in the Blackpool area, pleaded guilty to three offences of sexual assault. The judge […]

Agency boards sawn off by angry resident

| November 3, 2014 A man has taken a saw to estate agency boards erected outside his home. Matthew Hassall, of Croydon, claims the boards – put up outside the block of housing association flats where he lives – are simply there as free advertising for agents. He says he has been given permission by […]

Bold Legal Group recruits 300th member

| November 3, 2014 The Bold Legal Group, set up by Rob Hailstone, has recruited its 300th conveyancing member firm. It is Rothera Dowson in Nottingham. Former HIP provider Hailstone has become a champion of independent local conveyancers – who have had the same kind of mixed fortunes as estate agents over the last few […]

Martin & Co buys Xperience in £6m deal

October 31, 2014

| October 31, 2014 Martin & Co announced this morning that it has acquired the whole of Xperience – the estate agency franchising arm of Legal & General. It paid £5m in cash plus around £1m for the net assets of Xperience. Xperience managing director Michael Stoop stays with the business and has become group […]

UK’s biggest estate agent on course for best year ever

| October 31, 2014 The UK’s largest estate agent, Countrywide, is anticipating a bumper year after its best third quarter on record. Its report is in contrast to Foxtons, which last week issued a profits warning. But like Foxtons, Countrywide has also experienced a marked slowdown in the London market. In an interim report covering […]

David Newnes to step down from LSL – after 35 years

| October 31, 2014 David Newnes, one of the most respected names in estate agency, has announced his retirement. Widely respected and liked, Newnes, who is director of estate agency at LSL Property Services, has been with the company 35 years. He will be leaving at the end of this year, to follow personal interests […]

Prices edge up but ‘market losing momentum’

| October 31, 2014 House prices edged up 0.5% to stand at £189,333 this month, Nationwide has reported. Annual house price inflation is now 9%, said the lender. Despite the rises, Nationwide said that the housing market is losing momentum, with annual house price inflation slipping from 9.4% in September. It also said that mortgage […]

Zoopla launches feature for agents to show their professional credentials

| October 31, 2014 Zoopla Property Group has launched a new feature which allows members to display the professional associations and redress schemes they are affiliated with on various sections of the Zoopla and PrimeLocation websites. ZPG members can activate this new feature under their profile in ZooplaPro and activate the display of logos of […]