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NEWS FLASH: LSL warns on profits in wake of EU referendum

July 22, 2016

LSL, parent company of estate agency brands including Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons, has warned that this year’s profits will be “significantly lower than previously anticipated”. In an unexpected announcement to the City ahead of its interim results on August 2, this morning, LSL made it clear that the EU referendum result […]

Countrywide in significant move to close, rebrand and merge branches

A number of Countrywide offices are to close. We understand from sources that the overall number could be as high as 200. Last night EYE asked Countrywide about this and a spokesperson categorically denied the figure, saying it was “way off”. However, we were not told what the numbers are. We also asked whether or […]

Estate agent hit with £7,500 bill by court in Consumer Protection Regulations case

An agent has been hit with a £7,500 bill after advertising holiday homes as though they were permanent residential properties. Paul Staniford, a senior partner of Stanifords estate agents in Beverley, Yorkshire, appeared at Beverley Magistrates Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to misleading advertising under the Consumer Protection Regulations 2008. Magistrates were told […]

Mortgage lending hits its highest since housing market crash

Gross mortgage lending hit an eight-year high for June, according to industry estimates, but the market may be set for a very different six months ahead. The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending reached £20.7bn in June, up 16% on May. This is the highest June figure in eight years when gross […]

Over 100,000 residential property transactions in referendum month

There were 102,010 residential property transactions in June, HMRC has reported. The figure was a big jump from 84,140 in May and 73,370 in April, but down from the big spike of 171,370 seen in March before the Stamp Duty hike. March’s figure was the highest in ten years. The figure is also down from […]

Gone missing – 300,000 first-time buyers a year

A string of reports relating to the English Housing Survey 2014 to 2015 have been released. The survey headline report came out in February, but there are now nine new reports updating the report and covering a number of specific areas. These include the private rented sector; first-time buyers; and housing for older people. The […]

House sales hold up outside London post-Brexit, says Hometrack

Sales volumes held up in the run-up to and immediate post-Brexit period in all cities outside of London, according to Hometrack. Hometrack’s UK Cities Index shows properties have still been coming to market in the run up and immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, analysis of the top cities in the UK has revealed. Sales […]

Picture of the Week: And it’s eMoov Towers ‘for sale’

Here’s our Picture of the Week – and it has already caused quite a bit of excitement on the Twitter airwaves. For it is no less than a listing for eMoov Towers although its headline description is as a “one bedroom flat”, on the market at a modest £123,456. It has been on both Rightmove […]

Crowdfunding prop tech firm lays off staff but says ambition is undimmed

July 21, 2016

Property Partner, the ambitious tech start-up which allows people to crowdfund the purchase of individual properties by buying stakes for as little as £50, has laid off over a quarter of its staff. Announcing a restructuring of its business, the firm says that in the process, headcount is to be reduced by 13, taking staff […]

Thirteen agents in just one borough warned they could be prosecuted

Thirteen letting agents in one borough could face prosecution after allegedly not complying with the law that requires them to display their fees and information as to tenancy deposit protection. The 13 agents have been issued with a “notice of intent” by Thurrock Council, in Essex. The council’s Trading Standards offices visited 33 letting agencies […]

Last-time buyers having as many problems as first-time buyers

Older home owners are becoming stuck with their properties due to a lack of supply for them to move to, which in turn keeps first-time buyers out of the market, according to a survey. The annual home owner survey of more than 2,000 adults, conducted by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and its backers BLP Insurance, […]

Property company in bid to raise £300,000 to target growing house share market

Two property entrepreneurs are to launch a crowdfunding round next month to attract new investors into their home-sharers business. Andy Graham, 29, and Nick Morris, 31, are seeking to raise £300,000 on Crowdcube in exchange for 15% of equity in their company Smart Property, which targets young professional house sharers in the north of England […]

Millennial generation spending £44,000 more on rent than baby boomers

The combination of falling home ownership and rising costs in the private rented sector mean that today’s millennial generation will have spent £44,000 more on rent by the time they are 30 compared with the baby boomers generation. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation highlights an alarming drop in home ownership over recent decades that has […]

No recession and no house price crash for UK, says PWC

July 20, 2016

The UK will avoid a severe recession and a house price crash following the Brexit vote, PricewaterhouseCoopers has said. It believes that there will be a marked slowdown in house price growth, but no major crash. It believes that house prices will grow 3% this year and 1% next, before house price growth picks up […]

Average house prices continued to rise in pre-Leave vote month

Annual growth of average UK house prices remained at 8% in May to £211,230, according to the Office for National Statistics. It is the second release of a newly put together index by the ONS using a different methodology and incorporating cash sales and new dwellings. However, the data is just for May so doesn’t […]

New housing minister confirms commitment to building 1m new homes

The new housing minister, Gavin Barwell, has said that the Government remains committed to building 1m homes. He has also made it clear that unless there are very special circumstances, they will not be on the Green Belt. He said: “The Government is committed to the strong protection and enhancement of Green Belt land. “Within […]

Belvoir helps four of its franchisees to expand their businesses

Following Belvoir’s acquisition of Northwood last month, the company has announced the partial funding of a further four franchisee-led acquisitions and the expansion of its acquisition programme to other brands within the group. The backing of the four franchisee acquisitions has cost Belvoir £353,000 in loans, with the acquisitions expected to add £850,000 per year […]

Almost half of agents report Rightmove spend has gone up … but

Almost half – 49% – of agents report that their advertising spend on Rightmove has gone up. The figure compares with 27% who reported an increased spend on Zoopla, and 20% on OnTheMarket. The revelation comes in a confidential report from a company called Third Bridge, whose research is aimed at private equity firms and […]

NEWS FLASH: Agents’ Mutual ordered to pay £1m into court

July 19, 2016

Agents’ Mutual has been ordered to pay into court £1m. The Financial Times reports that £750,000 of that money must be paid in by today, and the rest by August 30. The money is in security for Gascoigne Halman’s costs and to “fortify” financially an undertaking it has so far given in the proceedings, according […]

Central London transaction volumes now lower than in the depths of last crash

Transaction volumes in prime central London are now lower than in the trough of 2008. Strutt & Parker says that this now could be the bottom of the market for the area. The statistics are cause for concern for those who believe that housing market trends always ripple out from London, although much less so […]

Agent’s anger as Rightmove Partners helps advertise Purplebricks to public

An independent high street agent is fuming after being sent an email advert for Purplebricks by Rightmove Partners. The email was personally addressed to the agent, using his first name. Rightmove has strongly defended its position, saying that any agent could use its advertising service, and that is has sent out come 30,000 different email […]

Furious OnTheMarket slams new poll as to whether it will survive

An international online publication has launched a poll asking whether OnTheMarket will survive. OTM has reacted with anger, completely disparaging the move, and demanding reassurances that the responses will not be hijacked by those wanting to see OTM fail. OTM, which yesterday emphasised it is here to stay, did not name who those wanting to […]

The industry’s very own summer festival – and for a fantastic cause

As many of you are aware from previous EYE updates, Julian O’Dell, industry trainer and consultant, is holding a music festival in his garden to raise funds for Macmillan. We know there are already a good few EYE readers attending. The event, named Catfest (after Julian’s wife Cat, who is fighting cancer and in the […]

Post referendum property market in line with usual seasonal trends, says Rightmove

July 18, 2016

New property listing prices have remained in line with the typical run-up to the summer holiday season despite Brexit concerns, Rightmove’s July house price index has revealed. The portal claims the price of new property coming to market fell 0.9%, or £2,647, over the past four weeks to £307,824. That covers the two weeks pre- […]

New housing minister is revealed – on Twitter

The new housing minister has been announced. Gavin Barwell has been appointed Minister of State for Housing and Planning, and also Minister for London. The news was tweeted by Barwell yesterday morning, who said he was “hugely honoured”. Barwell is the MP for Croydon Central. His new post is not a Cabinet one, although Sajid […]

Pressure ramps up for letting agent fees to be banned

Once again, letting agents’ fees are in the spotlight with pressure ramping up. Two MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling for their ban. The EDM tabled by LibDem Tom Brake and veteran Tory Peter Bottomley supports a Private Member’s Bill which has had an unopposed second reading in the Lords and seeks to […]

Anti-money laundering and property – and the regime’s very curious focus

The day that the Home Affairs Select Committee called for controls on estate agents to be tightened up to prevent money laundering, we received a letter in just that connection. It was from the solicitors acting in the sale of my mother-in-law’s former home, and who are concerned that she might be a money launderer. […]

Brexit uncertainty could linger over housing market for some time, warning

Housing market uncertainty could be lingering rather than short term, following the Leave vote. The warning came from Savills at a seminar last week on what Brexit means for London’s prime property market. The seminar was a joint event staged by law firm Boodle Hatfield and Savills, attended by over 100 people. They heard speakers […]

The stories that got you talking this week

July 16, 2016

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, and here is what has caught our eye. First: Brexit Journalists are often accused of peddling bad news and talking down the economy. But in reality all we can report is the facts. So it was hard to be positive this week with such negative looking data […]

May and Hammond? Are the Top Gear presenters now in charge

If someone had told you at the start of 2016 that May and Hammond would be in charge of the country by mid-2016, many would have asked if the Top Gear presenters James and Richard had changed careers. But in a week of shocking political shakeups we have seen Andrea Leadsom exit the leadership race, […]

MPs call for ‘much stronger supervision’ of estate agents

July 15, 2016

The Home Affairs Committee has called for “much stronger” supervision of estate agents to tackle money laundering. In a report published today, the committee slams current supervision of the property market as “totally inadequate, and that poor enforcement has laid out a welcome mat for money launderers”. The committee said that enhanced supervision must include […]

Peers slam Government over housing crisis and call for 300,000 new homes a year

A report out this morning by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has lambasted the Government over its housing policies. It says that the Government must lift its housing target by 50% and build 300,000 homes each year. It also calls for many more new council houses to be built. It says that both […]

Controversial ruling overturned by Supreme Court after tenant’s fall outside block

The Supreme Court has overturned an earlier judgment by the Court of Appeal in an important case for the lettings market. In Edwards v Kumarasemy the tenant tripped on a path outside the block of flats where he lived on the second floor, injuring his knee. The landlord did not own the path and did […]

New free conveyancing portal will give agents access to conveyancing chains

A new portal will give estate agents free and real-time access to the status of conveyancing chains. Free2Convey has begun the roll-out of its integration with law firms’ case management systems (CMSs) in a move which it says is set to revolutionise conveyancing transactions England and Wales. Free2Convey’s portal will enable all parties in a […]

New Secretary of State for CLG is named as Sajid Javid

Former business secretary Sajid Javid has been appointed as Communities and Local Government Secretary in Theresa May’s new cabinet. He is the son of a Pakistan-born bus driver and is MP for Bromsgrove. A Thatcherite, he went to state school in Bristol before becoming a successful investment banker with Deutsche Bank, where his salary was […]

New Secretary of State for CLG is named as Sajid Javid

Former business secretary Sajid Javid has been appointed as Communities and Local Government Secretary in Theresa May’s new cabinet. He is the son of a Pakistan-born bus driver and is MP for Bromsgrove. A Thatcherite, he went to state school in Bristol before becoming a successful investment banker with Deutsche Bank, where his salary was […]

Brexit gloom as RICS says new instructions in steepest fall on record

July 14, 2016

New buyer enquiries in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of the EU referendum fell to their lowest reading since mid-2008, while instructions had their steepest fall on record with 45% more surveyors reporting a drop, the RICS UK Residential market survey for June has found. The study of surveyor sentiment, the first major release […]

Bank analysts give Purplebricks ‘sell’ rating and give boost to Foxtons and Savills

Swiss bank UBS has initiated coverage of the UK estate agent sector. The bank expects UK-wide housing transactions to fall 6% this year and 5% the next – with a 10% drop in London in 2017. It has put Foxtons and Savills at ‘buy’, Countrywide at ‘neutral’ and Purplebricks at ‘sell’. It said that Purplebricks’ […]

Simon Gerrard calls for landlords with five properties to be excused Stamp Duty surcharge

Simon Gerrard, past President of the NAEA and managing director of high-profile London estate agency Martyn Gerrard, has called on new Chancellor Phil Hammond to suspend the Stamp Duty surcharge for landlords who already have five or more properties and who wish to buy more. Gerrard says it would prevent a spiralling in rents and […]

Boost in supply of rental property but demand still outstripping supply in most of country

The rental market received a boost in supply of 8% more new properties advertised to rent in Q2 compared with the same quarter in 2015. The extra listings on Rightmove followed the Q1 rush to buy second properties before the Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge kicked in. Most of the new properties were in London, […]

Nine in ten agents failing to give correct contact information online

The large majority of agents are failing to give the correct contact information about themselves online – including on website directories. Digital marketing organisation Yell looked at the online presence of 2,500 agents on the likes of Facebook, Bing and My Local Services UK. It found that 92% of agents were giving wrong or inconsistent […]

Group issues formal Letter Before Action to OnTheMarket boss

July 13, 2016

More than 50 separate businesses have set out their legal position in a formal Letter Before Action sent by solicitors Tollers LLP to Agents’ Mutual’s chief executive Ian Springett. The estate agents say they believe they were misled by Agents’ Mutual over promises made on joining that their membership package, in particular their subscription fees, […]

The One Show says online agent beats high street

An online versus traditional estate agent battle was last night won by the onliner, as screened on The One Show. Gemma Young, of Settled, was shown by presenter Dan Donnelly competing with Bath agent Madison Oakley, on a £460,000 property. While not quite clear what the competition achieved, the apparent purchaser said she appreciated being […]

Massive hikes in probate fees come under attack as stealth tax

Ministry of Justice proposals to implement massive hikes in probate fees have come under attack. The Ministry is planning to introduce a sliding scale of charges for probate fees, which currently cost a flat rate of £215. Those seeking a grant of probate in order to administer estates over £2m will be charged £20,000 – […]

Tragedy as one of industry’s most colourful characters is found dead

One of the industry’s most colourful characters has been found dead. Nigel Green became known after setting up an Apprentice-style job interview process, designed to find a star recruit for his business based in Newton Abbot, Devon. The competition, which drew national headlines, was staged in 2007. The prize? A job in his estate agency. […]

Confidence in housing market ‘evaporates’ after Brexit, claim

Confidence in the housing market has “evaporated” since the EU referendum, according to property search engine The rather stark analysis comes in the site’s house price index for July in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, recording a 0.2% monthly slip in average prices in England and Wales to £296,910, ending a 19-month rally. […]

Early supporter of OTM now owned by Connells is listing on three portals

July 12, 2016

Rook Matthews Sayer, whose acquisition by Connells Group was announced on March 1, was yesterday listing on all three major portals – Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. Another recent Connells acquisition, Paul Dubberley, was also yesterday listing on all three, in apparent contravention of OnTheMarket’s “one other portal rule”. Last night, an OnTheMarket spokesperson said: “We […]

Coming soon – what are your views on these property listings?

What is your view of properties listed as “coming soon”? The screengrabs show what we mean. A property listed on Rightmove on March 24 has no picture, so it has been “coming soon” for quite some time. Yesterday it was still listed on Rightmove, along with others of apparently similar status. The listings lack photography […]

Letting agent gives away free Rightmove and Zoopla listings

An online letting agent is giving away free listings on Rightmove and Zoopla. Landlords can take up the offer, regardless of whether they sign up to the firm’s management service, charged at 10%. Landlords also get 12 months’ rent upfront, while tenants can choose to pay no fees, deposits and rent up-front. However, those that […]

Agent jailed for a year after £15,000 theft of client money

An agent who pocketed over £15,000 in client money has been jailed for a year. Osian Hughes, 26, took the money paid over as rent and deposits by 27 tenants. Swansea Crown Court heard that the thefts came to light when it was discovered that ten months worth of rent from one tenant had not […]