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Talking point: Which planet is the property market on?

September 24, 2016

It is often said men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Perhaps the same could be said if you compare the difference between the latest asking price and house price indices. Rightmove’s September house price index had asking prices at £306,499 and Home.co.uk had values a little lower at £295,813. But these are […]

That was the week that was: The stories that got you talking

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, here is what has caught our eye. First: Gone in 90 days There was plenty of scepticism over the launch of a proptech firm which intends to take 10% of the estate agency market by promising to sell a vendor’s home in 90 days or give them […]

NEWSFLASH: Director who led Countrywide’s Building our Future strategy programme quits

September 23, 2016

A very senior figure is quitting the executive management team of Countrywide amid what the business is calling “organisational change”. Countrywide is consolidating its London brands and bringing its London and Retail businesses closer together. Graham Bell, managing director for London, was appointed to his role in June last year after leading the Building Our […]

Major regional firm drops OnTheMarket to return to Zoopla

A regional agent with 11 branches has announced that it is dropping OnTheMarket to return to Zoopla. Yesterday, Howard Cundey, with offices in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, was showing the Rightmove and Zoopla logos on its site, but not OTM’s. It was still listing on OTM as well as Rightmove but only its commercial properties […]

House price inflation falling as pace of growth slows across south

Annual house price growth has fallen to 8.2% as the slowdown in cities across the south of England intensified in August. Hometrack published its latest data covering 20 UK cities this morning. The index recorded its lowest level of quarterly growth for six months as a seasonal lull in market activity combined with weaker demand […]

Summer mortgage lending hits 11-year record for August

Mortgage lending in August was the highest for any August since the same month in 2007 – before the crash. The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending reached £22.5bn in August – 7% higher than July’s lending total of £21.1bn and 15% up on the year. In August 2007 gross lending reached […]

UK housing market still ‘peachy’, says Jackson-Stops & Staff

Conditions in the UK housing market have been described as “peachy”. The description is from Jackson-Stops & Staff, which said: “The UK property market remains peachy three months after the Brexit vote.” It says supply has risen 1% since the vote, but the proportion sold subject to contract has gone down. However, the dip is […]

Are agents really still unaware of Consumer Protection Regulations?

Are many agents really still unaware of Consumer Protection Regulations? Or do some simply try to ignore the law – and, presumably, in the case that follows, in the hope that the buyer won’t bother to commission their own survey. We came across this online, in a Linked In group for RICS members. A surveyor […]

NEWSFLASH: Countrywide sells last of its shares in Zoopla to raise over £29m

September 22, 2016

Countrywide announced this morning that it has sold in aggregate 9,234,473 ordinary shares in Zoopla Property Group at an average price of £3.17, raising £29.2m. The shares were sold between the period from August 9 to yesterday. Following the disposal, Countrywide no longer has a holding in Zoopla’s ordinary share capital. Countrywide said the proceeds […]

Industry is ‘sleep-walking’ into outright ban on letting agent fees, warning

The National Approved Letting Scheme has warned that the industry could be sleep-walking into a ban on letting agent fees. Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS, called for the industry to work together. Speaking after Citizens Advice repeated its calls for a ban, which is also being sought by Shelter, she said: “Efforts to explain […]

Sales volumes across England and Wales revealed as the lowest on record BEFORE Brexit vote

New data from the Land Registry lays bare the extent to which the housing market across England and Wales was already suffering before the Brexit vote. The data relates to the second quarter of this year and shows a dramatic fall in sales volumes. In England and Wales, 115,895 sales were registered. These were down […]

New portal launches in UK with major advertising campaign in media

A portal new to the UK is setting out its stall as having all the functionality of Zoopla and Rightmove, but offering much more. The World Property Network – TWPN – has taken out big press adverts, including a full page in the Sunday Times Home section last weekend and this, and London Evening Standard. […]

Landlord hit with £7,000 bill after cramming whole families into just one room each

A landlord has been hit with a bill of almost £7,500 for cramming six families into a suburban semi-detached house. Willesden Magistrates Court in north London heard that Mohammed Mehdi Ali had not bothered to license the property, which was built as a four-bedroom family home but now has six bedsit-style rooms and a shared […]

Landlords’ Barometer – #40: Is the private rented sector bleeding to death?

Welcome to “Landlords’ Barometer #40” … bringing you trending landlord and property topics. 1. 5 reasons why the PRS is bleeding to death In this hard hitting, no holds barred post, I look at the key factors that are draining the private rented sector of landlords and money. 2. Buy to let hotspots for 2017? […]

Estate agent launches promising to sell homes within 90 days – or lend vendors the cash

September 21, 2016

A proptech company has launched, which intends to take 10% of the estate agency market by promising to sell a vendor’s home in 90 days or give them the cash. Nested, which goes live today, guarantees the sale within 90 days or lend the seller the full amount, interest free, enabling them to move on. […]

Call for Chancellor to ditch Stamp Duty and transfer tax from buyer to seller

Stamp Duty should be replaced by a seller’s tax – effectively meaning that it would transfer transaction tax costs from buyer to vendor. The call has come from Yorkshire Building Society, ahead of the Autumn Statement in November, which says that it would make it easier for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. […]

Testimonial for agent was written by a director, advertising watchdog told

An agent which carried a testimonial on its site without making it clear that it was written by one of their own directors was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. Residential lettings and management company Oyster Estates, which displays a number of logos on its site including ARLA, and is based in Bognor Regis, West […]

Thanks George! House prices have further to fall in London, says Savills

House prices are set to fall hard in London, Savills has predicted, with Stamp Duty rather than Brexit to blame. The firm says that in prime central London, house prices will tumble 9% this year, after falling since 2014 (down 0.4% in 2014 and down 3.3% last year). House prices in other prime London areas […]

Zoopla boss Alex Chesterman sells 4.25m shares in the company

Alex Chesterman, CEO and founder of Zoopla Property Group, has sold a tranche of shares for almost £14m – £13,812,500. The statement confirming the transaction reads: “ZPG announces that it has been advised by Alex Chesterman that he has sold 4,250,000 ordinary shares of 0.1p each in the Group representing approximately 1% of the issued […]

OnTheMarket’s ‘special offer’ to agents will end next week

September 20, 2016

OnTheMarket is to close a “special offer” at the end of next week as it continues its recruitment drive in the heated portal market. Some agents, currently not members, have received the following email: “A few months ago OnTheMarket.com created an opportunity for a select number of agents to list on OnTheMarket.com for 12 months […]

Zoopla launches new service enabling agents to see which buyers really can buy

Zoopla is launching a service by which agents can see which potential buyers are pre-qualified for mortgage purposes. It follows the announcement earlier this year that Zoopla has invested in online mortgage broker Trussle. The proptech start up is the brainchild of Ishaan Malhi and launched as the first online-only mortgage broker in December last […]

Citizens Advice steps up demands for a ban on letting agent fees

Citizens Advice is stepping up its calls for a ban on lettings agent fees following a surge of complaints from tenants. The organisation claims there should be one charge paid for by landlords as they are in a better position to shop around. Citizens Advice says students and young people aged 17 to 24 are […]

‘Rising estate agent fees’ blamed for pushing up costs of moving home

Stamp Duty costs and estate agency fees have been blamed for pushing up the cost of moving home over the past year, Lloyds Bank has claimed. According to the lender, the average cost of moving home in the UK has increased by £870, or 9%, in the past 12 months to £10,996. But there are […]

Rise of the ‘silver renter’ as tenants under 35 are in the minority

Almost half of tenants living in private rental accommodation across the UK are aged over 46, signalling the rise of the ‘silver renter’. The finding comes from research by Your Move which involved 36,500 participants and was commissioned to provide insights into the 4.5m privately rented households in the UK – a number which is […]

Shock as Marc Goldberg quits Countrywide brand Hamptons International

September 19, 2016

One of Countrywide’s most high profile figures and best known names, Marc Goldberg, has quit. Goldberg has been head of sales at Hamptons International and with the firm for some 30 years. No reason has been given for what is the latest in a string of departures as the upheaval at Countrywide continues. Experienced, successful […]

Agents’ Mutual ordered to make further payments into court as legal battle continues

Agents’ Mutual has been ordered to make further payments into court as the legal battle with Gascoigne Halman continues. Agents’ Mutual has already paid £1m into court regarding the case, due to be heard in February. Gascoigne Halman was an early supporter of Agents’ Mutual and remains a Gold member, still listing on OnTheMarket. However, […]

LSL sells 7.8m shares in Zoopla as it seeks to reduce debt

LSL, parent company of brands including Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons, has sold 7.8m shares in Zoopla at an average £3.20 per share, it announced on Friday. The sales were made between July 20 and September 16. LSL continues to hold 3.5m (3,533,786) Zoopla shares, representing 0.8% of Zoopla’s ordinary share capital. […]

Agency owners warned against selling up too cheaply

Leading industry figure Adam Walker has warned independents not to under-sell their businesses, whether to corporates, regional chains or competitors. Walker said that while Countrywide and several other buyers may be temporarily out of the acquisitions market, estate agency and letting businesses are still being sold. The problem for sellers, said Walker, is that buyers […]

New asking prices bounce up – especially for first-time buyers

Properties coming to market appear to be in a post-Brexit vote bounce, Rightmove has claimed. The portal’s September house price index found that the asking price of property coming to market rebounded by 0.7% in the month, up £2,277 to £306,499 following a 3% drop in the previous two months. The figures are up 4% […]

Talking point: Time for agents to ditch the suit and tie?

September 17, 2016

We live, it seems in a casual age. The new entrepreneurs aren’t suited and booted but are often teenagers setting up technology companies from their bedrooms wearing pyjamas. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is often seen at annual general meetings in a t-shirt and jeans while the late Apple founder Steve Jobs was rarely seen outside […]

The stories that got you talking this week

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, here is what has caught our eye. First: Regulator finally gets some teeth shock RICS announced it is set to expel a member, Dion Beard, who featured in last year’s Channel Four documentary From Russia With Cash, from the profession. Beard, better known as Benson Beard, practises […]

Scam ‘landlords’ using fake Rightmove email to get tenants to hand over money

September 16, 2016

Scammers have been using the Rightmove brand to dupe tenants out of rental deposits. Property listing website The House Shop says it has seen ‘multiple’ incidents in recent months of fake landlords advertising cheap rents and then sending potential tenants an email from “Rightmove Tenant Verification”. The email contains a link that looks like a […]

Purplebricks to take 10% of total market share in UK, says analyst

Purplebricks will take 10% market share in both the UK and Australia, analysts at consultancy firm Hardman & Co said yesterday. However another analyst, Anthony Codling of Jefferies, traded punches with Purplebricks boss Michael Bruce, with Codling noting that yesterday’s trading update did not provide sales figures. Codling said: “Once again Purplebricks has chosen to […]

Hybrid agent YOPA ups the stakes with new national TV advertising campaign

Hybrid agent YOPA is upping the stakes in the online sector after appointing advertising agency Publicis UK – with a new national TV advertising campaign now under way. The campaign, consisting of three 30-second adverts and starring the ‘Village People’, underlines the benefits to house sellers of using YOPA. The ads make a connection between […]

Buyers changing their minds at last minute still account for most fall-throughs

Mortgage rates may have fallen to record lows, but that doesn’t mean it is any easier to get one, and this could be holding back transactions. Research by Nottingham Building Society found that 22% who have tried to buy or sell a property in the past five years have said their deal fell through because […]

Sales recover on a monthly basis but down by over 16% on last year

Transactions across the UK were down 16.2% last month compared with August last year. Haart has made the prediction, based on its own data. Despite the annual plunge, sales – ie, exchanges – did pick up by 5.6% on a monthly basis. Haart is forecasting 49,550 transactions in August. The agent is also forecasting that […]

NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks announces instructions up 121% – and profit this year

September 15, 2016

Purplebricks this morning said trading since the start of its new financial year on May 1 has been “very encouraging”, with little discernible impact following the EU referendum. For the period, instructions are up 121% year on year, and have continued to grow month on month, culminating in 3,156 instructions in August. Market share in […]

We still have our chequebooks out, say agents looking for more acquisitions

While some nationals – most notably Countrywide – are closing branches, acquisitions and new openings are still continuing elsewhere. Following the merger of national estate agents Leaders and Berkshire-based Romans, the Property Services Holdings Group (PSH) has reaffirmed its commitment to further expansion. With 151 branches across the UK, the group said it is actively […]

Martin & Co group announces strong results and says it is now a player in the hybrid agent sector

Franchise group MartinCo has announced strong interim results for the first six months of this year, with revenue and profits both up. It has also confirmed it now operates in the hybrid estate agency sector and will build the number of Local Property Experts. In the first half of this year, earnings before interest, tax, […]

Agent and landlord both convicted of failing to license property

A landlord and his letting agent have both been fined and given criminal records for failing to license his rental property and ignoring their tenants’ pleas for essential repairs, including to the house’s broken boiler. Despite repeated warnings from officers from Brent Council’s private housing services team, Khalid Latif and his agents PMC Management and […]

Mortgage lending for house purchase slides by 14%, say lenders

The number of mortgages for owner-occupier house purchase fell 14% in July on a monthly basis, and 13% on an annual basis. The total number was 58,100, said trade body the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Separately, the number of buy-to-let mortgages for house purchase was down by half on an annual basis. Home movers took […]

Purplebricks has two complaints about its savings claims upheld

September 14, 2016

Purplebricks has had two complaints about it upheld by the advertising watchdog. A third complaint was not upheld. The complaints were to do with the savings that Purplebricks claimed first on TV and then on its website that it could make for customers. The first claim was made in a TV advert which showed an […]

Complaint about eMoov to advertising watchdog resolved informally

A complaint about eMoov over claimed savings has been resolved informally. It centred around a comparison tool on the eMoov site which showed how much a consumer might save versus a traditional agent’s fee. The complainant challenged whether the savings claim calculated was misleading because the traditional agent fee did not include VAT. eMoov agreed […]

Sales tumble by a third in England and by almost half in London

Transactions in May fell 33.5% year on year in England to 49,795 and they were down 29.6% in Wales at 2,596. Figures for London were even more drastic, down 46% year on year for May to 5,111. May is the last month for which the new Land Registry/ONS house price survey has transaction figures. However, […]

Website has to amend ‘rent to rent’ advice after lawyer condemns it as ‘completely wrong’

A website has had to amend its advice to landlords about ‘rent to rent’ after a lawyer condemned it as being completely wrong. Mark Alexander wrote an article on his property 118 site about ‘rent to rent’ and the use of a Deed of Assurance, available to purchase on his site. He has now inserted […]

Winkworth reports rise in revenues despite vendors delaying sales

Winkworth has reported a strong first half of the year, with gross revenues in its franchised network up 7% to £23.7m. Sales revenue was up 5%, to £14.3m, lettings up 7% to £6.1m and property management fees up 19% to £3.2m. However, CEO Dominic Agace said that a number of vendors delayed their decision to […]

RICS set to expel surveyor who appeared in From Russia With Cash

September 13, 2016

The RICS is set to expel a member, Dion Beard, who featured in last year’s Channel Four documentary From Russia With Cash, from the profession. Beard, better known as Benson Beard, practises as an estate agent and is an associate director at the Chelsea offices of Bective Leslie Marsh. Luay Al-Khatib, RICS Director of Regulation, […]

Redundancies – and why we must fight brain drain from industry

Redundancies are almost always a shock and very sad for the people concerned. At the same time they do create new and positive opportunities for both job-seekers and prospective employers. Only months ago, I was writing about skill shortages throughout the estate agency and letting agency sector. It was increasingly difficult for employers to entice […]

Property portal guru names Rightmove as world’s number one site

Rightmove has been named as the world’s number one property portal. Industry guru Simon Baker, of Property Portal Watch, has put Rightmove first in a list of “top ten global property portals to watch”. Baker, who has previously headed up the REA Group with responsibility for Propertyfinder before its acquisition by Zoopla, praised Rightmove. He […]

UK residential director at RICS quitting for new role

Andrew Bulmer is leaving his high-profile role as UK residential director at the RICS to become CEO of the Institute of Residential Property Management Bulmer FIRPM FRICS will take the helm of IRPM at the end of next month. He said: “IRPM is now the default ‘go-to’ body for industry-relevant qualifications in the expanding residential […]