Suttons City Living Blog

Powered By
Powered By Property Industry Eye

NEWS FLASH: Foxtons announces huge fall in profits

July 29, 2016

Foxtons this morning announced a huge tumble in profits for the first half of this year, down by over 42%. It also cancelled its special dividend. Pre-tax profits of £10.5m fell from £18.1m for the same period last year. Adjusted earnings before costs (EBITDA) were hit, down from £20.5m last year to £13.1m. Group revenue […]

Stakes get higher as OTM listings by Connells firm are taken down after alleged breach

Listings for Rook Matthews Sayer have been removed from OnTheMarket. The 17-office firm in the north-east was acquired by Connells Group in March. Previously, as an independent, Rook Matthews Sayer had been an early supporter of OTM and partner Clive Rook was on the Agents’ Mutual board. As recently reported by EYE, Rook Matthews Sayer […]

Repossessions and evictions firm run by banned former solicitor’s clerk wound up

A specialist repossession and eviction firm has been wound up following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. Swift House Solutions, based in Stourbridge, offered repossession and eviction advice services to the public. It had traded under the name Manage MyRepro.co.uk The investigation found that Swift had continued the businesses of Repossession Management Bureau, RMB Assets […]

Has Countrywide’s trial of online agency really worked, asks Quirk

Countrywide is to roll out its online offering across 25% of the network – despite a claim that evidence shows its current trial has not yet worked. The claim comes from online agent Russell Quirk, of eMoov, who put together the chart below showing listings levels of the three brands running the trial – Austin […]

Suzy – We remember you

We cannot, and should not, let this week pass without remembering Suzy Lamplugh. The agent vanished 30 years ago yesterday, in broad daylight and during an ordinary working day. She left her office, Sturgis and Sons in Fulham, London, to show a viewer round a property, and was never seen again. The 25-year-old had her […]

NEWS FLASH: Countrywide to roll out online agency offering to quarter of network by end of year

July 28, 2016

Pre-tax profits at Countrywide tumbled 25% in the first half of this year, the UK’s largest estate agency chain reported this morning. Countrywide chief executive Alison Platt also warned that a period of uncertainty post-Brexit will “inevitably impact the level of transactional activity in the second half of the year and, although it is too […]

Rightmove planning to hike agents’ subscriptions again next year, City analysts told

Rightmove has told analysts that it is confident it can charge agents an extra £60 to £70 per office per month, next year. At a City briefing following its half-year results yesterday, Rightmove management are said to have struck a confident tone, saying that such ARPA (advertising rate per agent) was achievable except in the […]

OnTheMarket stays defiant: We’re still growing – and we’re here to stay

The number of estate and letting agent offices listing at OnTheMarket.com has grown 10% during the first half of the year, the portal reported yesterday evening. At the beginning of January, more than 5,700 offices were listing on the website, and by the end of June the number had grown to over 6,300 branches. OnTheMarket […]

One other portal rule: Timetable set by tribunal for OnTheMarket case

Two court proceedings involving Agents’ Mutual, and agents Gascoigne Halman, and Moginie James, are to be heard together. This is the ruling in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, heard on Tuesday. The ‘one other portal’ rule challenge now gets to another stage, this Friday at 4pm, Further deadlines set by the court follow, in particular allowing […]

Connells reports 15% boost in profits to £31.3m in first six months of year

Connells Group has posted an increase in half-year pre-tax profits of 15%. Reporting on the first six months of this year, it made profits of £31.3m, up from £27.3m for the same period last year. Connells gave no figures for revenue. The group increased house sales by 8%, and in its land and new homes […]

Rightmove announces big rises in revenue and profits as agents pay more

July 27, 2016

Rightmove this morning announced revenue and profits up for the first half of this year, driven by an increase in agents and a rise in what they are paying. Its underlying operating profits margin is 76.3%, up from 75.5%. In the six months to June 30, revenue was up 16%, to stand at £93.1m. Pre-tax […]

More departures of top people confirmed by Countrywide on eve of City update

More top-level departures from Countrywide have been confirmed. They are James Poynor, Steve Hinshelwood and Peter Wallace. All have had key roles with the company, which EYE understands is intending a broad restructure involving closures, mergers and re-brands. Countrywide is due to report to the City tomorrow in the form of an interim announcement. Hinshelwood […]

Share price falls wipe off half value of estate agency firms in last year

Falls in share prices over the last year have wiped off more than half the value of Countrywide, half the value of Foxtons, and some 40% off the value of LSL. Savills’ share price has performed better but even so has fallen to the extent that nearly 29% of the value of the company has […]

Almost half of biggest online agents have average asking prices above Rightmove’s latest

Purplebricks is by far and away the dominant player in the online and hybrid estate agency market – but it is somewhere in the middle when it comes to average asking prices. New research shows that its average asking price is £285,223. This is a long way behind the average asking price of sellmyhome, which […]

Website reports 44% fall in home-moving registrations across central London

Future transactions in central London appear to have crashed by 44% post-Brexit, and have fallen across the UK. Other regions hard hit are the home counties where they are down 27%, and Northern Ireland where they are down 25%. The figures come from the website reallymoving, which home movers use to register – typically three […]

New student lettings portals worth £1.1m – and not even launched

A new UK-based property tech start-up has been valued at £1.1m, although it has yet to launch. University Cribs, set to launch in October, is said to have received investments from backers. The platform will focus on the students’ letting market, including letting agents. The search model will simplify and streamline the process of finding […]

Proptech incubator Pi Labs presents its latest start-ups to investors

Pi Labs has held its third demo Day with five Proptech companies presenting to a room full of potential investors at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. The companies were subject to a three-month long specialist programme to help them refine their businesses, start generating revenue and become ‘investor ready’. In exchange for the […]

Mortgage approvals at 15-month low in month of Brexit vote

Mortgage approvals fell to a 15-month low in June amid Brexit jitters, data from the British Bankers Association reveals. Figures from the trade body show mortgage approvals for house purchases dropped from 41,842 in May to 40,103 in June while net lending fell from £1.6bn to £1.3bn over the same period. The number of approvals […]

Did I Sell Too Cheap ?

July 26, 2016

  As an owner of a property, you will want an estate agent to get you the best possible price for your apartment. You want to feel like the person buying your property has paid the most that anyone in the world would have ever paid. How is this achieved ? Going back only 17 years, […]

Purplebricks marketing officer pockets £309,000 profit from shares he owned for just ten days

Purplebricks’ chief marketing officer has sold a large chunk of shares in the online agent, turning a very quick profit in the process. Joby Russell sold the 243,618 shares shares last Friday at 140p per share, netting him £341,065. He had owned the shares for just ten days, exercising an option to buy them at […]

Council launches investigation into how private landlord details were released into public domain

A local council is investigating how names and details of private landlords and their properties were released by the authority both into the public domain and to an individual apparently looking to buy up rental properties. The information, which could potentially breach data protection rules, was not leaked but apparently supplied in the belief that […]

Countrywide confirms departure of yet another key figure

Another senior figure at Countrywide has left the company. The reasons behind the departure of Keith Knight are not known. Countrywide, led by Alison Platt whose emphasis is on retail and the company’s Building our Future programme, is due to report to the stock market this week. As already reported by EYE, it is understood […]

Countrywide – and others – endangering themselves with hybrid estate agency model

Are Countrywide agencies risking their profits? If I was working in Countrywide estate agents right now, I’d be seriously contemplating my future. Aside from recently reported issues, I believe its new hybrid estate agency model, being trialled by three of its agency brands, threatens to destabilise its business. When it’s rolled out across the country, […]

Greater downturn post-Brexit than expected, says Connells Group – but recovery visible

There has been a greater than expected downturn in sales agreed following the Brexit vote, Connells Group has reported. But, it emphasised, “recovery is visible”. Group chief executive David Livesey said that in the three weeks prior to June 23, sales agreed were 11% down on the same weeks of 2015, when the market was […]

Ministers urged to abolish ‘disastrous’ Stamp Duty to help solve housing crisis

July 25, 2016

All rates of Stamp Duty should be halved immediately and then scrapped altogether, while the 3% surcharge on buy-to-let properties and second homes should be ditched without delay. The calls come from the influential TaxPayers’ Alliance, which is also demanding that the Government immediately bin its forthcoming cap on the amount of mortgage relief landlords […]

Foxtons set to report plunge in profits, says broker

Foxtons will announce this week that its profits almost halved in the first six months of this year, it has been forecast. Foxtons is due to report interim results for the six months to June 30 on Friday. Broker Numis says the agent is likely to report profits down to as low as £12m, compared […]

Consumer confidence in housing market takes a post-Brexit wobble

Households across the UK believe their property values slipped in July during the aftermath of the EU referendum, according to Knight Frank. The consultancy’s house price sentiment index, which measures what households think will happen to the value of their property over the next year, fell to 48.3 in July from 59.7 in June. Some […]

Zoopla partners with technology giant to bring big screen technology to high street agents

Zoopla has partnered with leading technology giant Samsung SDS to bring an online search experience for consumers direct to the high street offices of its member agents. The partnership will see Samsung SDS offer agents 40-60 inch, high-bright, digital touch-screen displays inside branches that are powered by Zoopla listings, creating the ultimate in-store search tool. […]

Two become one as eMoov buys sound-alike online agent

Online agent eMoov appears to have bought another online agent with the very similar name of eMoveuk We discovered that clicking on www.eMoveuk.com brings up none other than eMoov. There appeared to have been little love lost between the two, with eMoov at one time successfully complaining to the ASA about its similarly named rival. […]

Analysis: A look at how the Home for Life Plan works

July 23, 2016

You just can’t beat the ageing process and now retirees are predicted to dominate household growth over the next two decades Data from the Office for National Statistics found households headed by someone aged 65 or over are projected to increase by 155,000 per year, accounting for 74% of total household growth by 2039. In […]

The stories that got you talking this week

It’s been another hectic week for the industry, and here is what has caught our eye. First: Brexit It’s been a month since the UK voted for Brexit. The pound has fallen and the markets have bounced up and down, but ultimately the sky is still blue. Many had predicted doom for the property market, […]

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 […]