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In which Big T encounters some IT problems

January 31, 2015

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | January 31, 2015 Apparently, Ralph Waldo Emerson actually said: “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find […]

Portals battle intensifies as Rightmove releases new figures

January 30, 2015

| January 30, 2015 Rightmove yesterday analysed the total number of properties being marketed and which of the three main portals they are displayed on. It estimated there to be just over 1m homes on the market in total, of which 170,000 are in London. The figures include sales and lettings stock. Rightmove broke down […]

Private sales site to use ‘On the Market Direct’ domain name for marketing

| January 30, 2015 The private sales and new homes website that bans estate agents has confirmed that it is behind another site – The iPropertycompany said that this domain name “will form a big part of our UK marketing strategy”. It also said that its ability to acquire the domain name “highlights the […]

Your Move chain says sorry to OTM agent after touting claims

| January 30, 2015 An independent agent was last night given an apology by Your Move after leaflets were delivered to sellers claiming that her firm had quit Rightmove. Sarah Mains, of Sarah Mains Residential in Newcastle upon Tyne, said that her business has been “severely disrupted” this week after the leaflets were apparently hand-delivered […]

Chestertons ‘no longer for sale’ after offers rejected

| January 30, 2015 Chestertons has quietly taken down the For Sale sign over its company. The firm went on the market last July for a price rumoured to be over £50m. The move followed the split in February of London-based Chestertons from Humberts, which operates outside the M25. Interested buyers were rumoured to be […]

Average house prices went up 7% last year, says Land Registry

| January 30, 2015 Average house prices across England and Wales ended last year at £177,766 – 7% higher than at the start of 2014. The Land Registry says that prices went up 0.6% between November and December. In London, house prices rose 1.8% on the month and 16.3% over the course of last year, […]

Zoopla ‘not down or out’ while OnTheMarket claims ‘brilliant’ opening day

January 27, 2015

| January 27, 2015 OnTheMarket launched yesterday “not with a bang but a whimper”, claimed City analyst Jefferies. But OnTheMarket claimed a very different story, while Zoopla itself said there had been problems with OTM’s launch. Meanwhile, its shares gained strongly. Last night, an OTM spokesperson told Eye: “It’s been a brilliant opening day for […]

Money laundering charges for bigger agents set to spiral

| January 27, 2015 Compliance with anti-money laundering is going to become much more expensive for medium to bigger agents after April 1. The cap of the fee payable by estate agents with more than 20 premises is being abolished. It means they will be paying the same £110 fee per premises as other agents. […]

New online auction house launches with promises to agents

| January 27, 2015 After months of preparation, online property auction website Bamboo Auctions is due to launch today. The business is led by corporate lawyer Robin Rathore and Chris Brown, who is past president of both NAVA and the NAEA, and is launching as part of the PiLabs Program, backed by Cushman & Wakefield […]

Troubled times ahead for Foxtons?

| January 27, 2015 Foxtons this morning reported turnover down 12.1% in the last quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2013. It said this was “due to reduced sales commission more than offsetting growth in lettings commission”. However, full year group turnover was up 3.4% on 2013. The firm said that […]

Houser removes agents’ listings after uproar

| January 27, 2015 We understand that Houser has been removing agents’ properties from its site. However, for those agents who would like their properties removed, Houser has introduced a facility at the link below. Eye must issue a warning, though: when we visited the site to check out the link, a strange robotic voice […]

A leap of faith and after a ‘hell of a ride’ OnTheMarket is here

January 26, 2015

| January 26, 2015 Today marks a new era for the UK property industry with the launch of OnTheMarket – the result of what can only be described as agent power. After months of speculation, excitement and doubts over an issue that has divided the industry into sceptics and supporters – and, according to chief […]

‘We’ll knock Zoopla off the number two spot – and soon’ declares Springett

| January 26, 2015 Knocking Zoopla off its perch as the current number two portal is Ian Springett’s immediate ambition for OnTheMarket. He said: “Our objective is to be at the number two position and to get that as quickly as we can.” However, he also made it plain that he does not under-estimate what […]

A marketing phenomenon: Agents promoting OTM before even seeing it

| January 26, 2015 One extraordinary feature about the launch of OnTheMarket has been the huge marketing push given by local agents. The phenomenon has been worth millions in free advertising to the new site and is surely worth an article in a marketing journal. It would certainly be an interesting one: how to make […]

OTM agents making themselves ‘look silly’ says Zoopla boss Chesterman

| January 26, 2015 A barrage of anti OnTheMarket stories have continued to appear in the national press. An interview in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph with Alex Chesterman appeared under a headline which said OTM estate agents “look silly”. In the article by Anna White, Chesterman (pictured) said of OTM: “The only damage being done here […]

An end to spiralling fees and super-profits for Rightmove and Zoopla, claim

| January 26, 2015 Another major group of estate agents today announced its support for OnTheMarket. Property Sharing Experts, formerly West Country Team, said that a majority of its 80 member offices have signed up, with most keeping Rightmove as its “one other portal” despite hard-hitting criticisms of Rightmove. The group said that the launch […]

How agents’ windows are putting public in the OTM picture

January 24, 2015

| January 24, 2015 Well, we did ask … Have you changed your window displays ahead of OnTheMarket’s launch on Monday? We have, it is fair to say, been inundated. So, apologies if we haven’t picked out yours among the many – it has been difficult to choose. However, it is fair to say that […]

Big T takes on Mightmove and the Shard

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | January 24, 2015 I can only hope that a few of you felt, after last week’s initial diatribe, that you would like to join me in my ramblings through the trees of the property wood once again, after so long […]

Online agents join touting ploy as OTM launch draws near

January 23, 2015

| January 23, 2015 Increased levels of touting are being seen, based around OnTheMarket and whether agents are on both Rightmove and Zoopla. One online agent yesterday told Eye it has sent out some 2,200 touting letters on that theme. Online agents are allowed on both Rightmove and Zoopla but banned from OnTheMarket, which launches […]

How to get your properties off Houser – complain to US web hosting company

| January 23, 2015 An agent has succeeded in getting his properties removed from controversial site Houser a week after he first requested it. Mark Rowe, of RPS Estate and Letting Agents in Lee on the Solent, Hampshire, wrote to Houser’s US hosting company, Rackspace, claiming copyright infringement. emailed back, saying: “I’m writing on […]

House prices tiptoe up, but lenders make things so much harder

| January 23, 2015 House prices increased by 0.4% last month to reach 8.3% annual inflation during 2014, Hometrack said this morning. But there were big regional variations and Hometrack said the rate of growth has plateaued and is now set to slow. In its new analysis of UK cities, it said there are now […]

New Property Search Website ? –

January 22, 2015

There is a new property search website being launched at the end of this month, . This new website  is squaring up against the two well established giants, Rightmove and Zoopla. The difference with is that it is 100% owned and run by estate agents rather than shareholders. This new website is also only […]

Countrywide in touting dispute admits letters ‘may have been misleading’

| January 22, 2015 Countrywide has stepped down in its row over touting letters. Spicerhaart, an OnTheMarket agent, had highlighted letters sent to its vendors. Another OnTheMarket agent also told Eye yesterday that Countrywide had sent out a letter to vendors. Last night, while not mentioning Spicerhaart or any other agent by name, a spokesperson […]

Agent loses out on Countrywide instruction over OTM allegiance

| January 22, 2015 An agent instructed by Countrywide on a repossession lost out after Countrywide learned that the firm would be listing with OnTheMarket. Thomas Morris in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, was instructed as a “key-holding agent” by Countrywide Corporate Property Services – Countrywide’s asset management arm. In an exchange of emails seen by Eye, […]

Carphone Warehouse founder ploughs £5m into online agency

| January 22, 2015 Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone has invested £5m into an online estate agent. The investment, made with Dunstone’s business partner Roger Taylor, has benefited HouseSimple. Dunstone, who is chairman of TalkTalk and Dixons Carphone, said: “We believe estate agency is going to change considerably, with the future increasingly belonging to […]

Cluttons reports ‘excellent’ results and expansion plans

| January 22, 2015 Cluttons has announced strong results for the year ended March 31, 2014, and said that it is planning further expansion this year – its 250th anniversary. Turnover was up by 11% at £41.2m with profits before tax up 36% to £10.9m. Net debt was reduced during the year from £1.85m to […]

Zoopla sees record start to the year

| January 22, 2015 Zoopla has reported record levels of both website and mobile activity from January 1–13, with new highs seen in the number of visits across its platform. On January 13 the Zoopla sites received a record level of traffic at just under 2m visits in a single day, with traffic for the […]

Spicerhaart threatens to sue Countrywide over ‘poaching clients’ in OTM row

January 20, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Spicerhaart is threatening to sue rival chain Countrywide over what it calls “an attempt to poach its customers” before next Monday’s launch of OnTheMarket. Spicerhaart says it will, if necessary, seek a High Court injunction, claiming that Countrywide agents have written to Spicerhaart clients claiming that Spicerhaart […]

Online agent Hatched resigns from NAEA in OTM protest

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Online estate agent Adam Day of Hatched has resigned from the NAEA over its support for OnTheMarket – which will ban online agents when it launches next Monday. Day has accused the NAEA of hypocrisy in accepting his money for membership while supporting an organisation that excludes […]

The countdown continues: OnTheMarket launch sticks to timetable

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 With six days to go, over 4,600 branches have signed up to OnTheMarket, equating to 93% of the original 5,000 target and with numbers continuing to rise daily. However, not all of the newest members will be on the site at launch next Monday – and it […]

Countrywide’s buying spree of letting agents set to continue

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Countrywide spent £40m acquiring 29 lettings businesses last year, it has disclosed. Since 2007, Countrywide has invested over £100m in acquiring over 100 lettings businesses throughout England and Scotland. Last year’s acquisitions included Tucker Gardner, a well established business in Cambridgeshire, full service lettings agency Personal Homefinders […]

Former Douglas & Gordon boss Ivor Dickinson joins ambitious Lomond Capital

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Ivor Dickinson, former managing director of London’s Douglas & Gordon, has joined highly acquisitive Lomond Capital as regional chief executive. His role will be to accelerate Lomond’s presence in the south of England. Scottish-headquartered Lomond Capital has been expanding throughout Scotland by a series of major acquisitions […]

‘More and more agents’ are choosing OTM, says Rightmove in letter for public

January 19, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 A letter drafted by Rightmove for agents to send to their clients explaining their “one other portal” decision says that OnTheMarket will grow its audience. The letter emphasises Rightmove’s own lead position in the market, but could be seen to recognise OnTheMarket as a strong challenger. The […]

Agree you ‘don’t care’ about customers, Houser tells agents wanting out

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 Estate agents demanding to have their properties removed from Houser are being told to agree they “don’t care” about their businesses or customers. One agent, Jackie Oliver, whose firm is in Towcester, Northamptonshire, said she thought Houser’s attitude was appalling. She said: “It is disgraceful behaviour.” She, […]

It’s the final countdown: one week to OnTheMarket

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 With one week to go, agents and local papers are uniting to publicise OnTheMarket. Below is how one – the Property Echo in Grimsby – is handling the message. Meanwhile, another London agent dealing with premium properties, W A Ellis, told Eye yesterday that it is dropping […]

New company sets out be the ‘London stock exchange’ for property

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 A new company launches today with ambitions to be to residential property what the London Stock Exchange is to shares. Property Partner will buy rental properties and allow investors to chip in anything from £50 upwards to become the owners. The investors will earn ‘dividends’ from their […]

Home hunters give Rightmove record start to year

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 Rightmove has reported a record start to 2015, with the most page views ever in a single day last Sunday, January 11. In the first 13 days of this month, site traffic was up 10% on the same period a year ago. However, buyers have little to […]

It’s the return of Big T: This, That and Very Little of the Other

January 16, 2015

Trevor Kent It’s the return of Big T: This, That and Very Little of the Other Written by: Trevor Kent | January 16, 2015 This, That and Very Little of the Other – Trevor Kent may muse in future editions Our glamorous and perspicacious editrix has asked me if I would care to revisit my […]

Agent that ‘underpaid staff’ tops official ‘name and shame’ list

| January 16, 2015 An award-winning agent tops the list of the government’s latest ‘name and shame’ list of employers that have underpaid their workers. Kings Group, headquartered in Hertfordshire, has had both its estate agency and lettings agency arms listed after not paying the minimum wage. It had underpaid 43 members of its estate […]

Anger grows as Houser says removing listings will ‘hurt consumers’

| January 16, 2015 Agents who are demanding that their properties are removed from Houser are being told to tick a box saying: “I understand that taking down my information and listings will negatively affect consumers.” One agent told Eye they find such a condition totally unacceptable and that they had refused to tick the […]

No decline in house prices despite weakening demand – RICS

| January 16, 2015 The number of applicants dipped for the sixth consecutive month in December and price growth fell to its slowest pace since May 2013, according to the latest RICS survey. The weakest demand was in London where there was an eighth consecutive monthly decline. However, the RICS says that despite weakening demand, […]

‘It’s looking good for 2015 after Stamp Duty reforms’ says conveyancing firm

| January 16, 2015 Bulk conveyancing firm myhomemove has expressed optimism about the housing market this year, saying that Stamp Duty Land Tax reforms announced last month will give it a boost. As already reported in Eye, the firm was astonished by the sheer amount of business being done by agents in terms of sales […]

Rents still going up, according to LSL

| January 16, 2015 Rents started this year 3% up on what they were 12 months ago, according to LSL, parent company of Your Move and Reeds Rains. The average monthly rent in England and Wales stood at £767 in December compared with £745 in December 2013. There was a tiny 0.1% fall in rents […]

OnTheMarket and the gloves are off – is this city typical?

January 14, 2015

| January 14, 2015 Another agent in up-market Winchester has announced that it will be dropping Zoopla when OnTheMarket launches on January 26. Belgarum said that along with “many other Winchester agents” it will be using OnTheMarket. It said: “After extensive research, Belgarum have decided to cease advertising on Zoopla, given the majority of traffic […]

House price rises going off the boil, says ONS

| January 14, 2015 House prices across the UK went up by an average of 10% in the year to last November, the Office for National Statistics has said. However, this was driven by an annual increase in London of 15.3%, 11.9% in the east and 10.8% in the south-east. Excluding London and the south-east, […]

Landlords call for voluntary schemes – to let councils go after rogues

| January 14, 2015 A new system of “co-regulation” for the private rented sector is being proposed ahead of May’s General Election. It is part of a “manifesto” being launched in Westminster this morning by the Residential Landlords Association. The RLA is suggesting that landlords in all local authority areas could sign up to voluntary […]

Tenants should get refunds if properties are unsound, call

| January 14, 2015 Citizens Advice is calling for tenants to get their money back if the property is unsound. In its report, Renting Uncovered, the charity says private tenants should have the legal right to refunds if the property they are living in is structurally unsound, has unsafe wiring or has damp or mould. […]

Millions wasted on housing benefit fraud payments and errors

| January 14, 2015 The Government’s own spending watchdog has hit out at overpayments made to benefit claimants, particularly those on housing benefit. The Public Accounts Committee has criticised the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to tackle fraud and for making mistakes. DWP is found to have overpaid benefits to the tune of […]

Traditional agents beating online rivals at their own game

January 13, 2015

| January 13, 2015 Traditional agents are doing better than online agents – online. An independent report by digital customer service and sales firm The Chat Shop looked at five online agents and five traditional agents. It found that Knight Frank leads the way in social media, with the highest number of followers and interaction […]

Row grows over Houser taking agents’ listings without consent

| January 13, 2015 The row over new portal Houser taking listings from estate agents’ sites without their knowledge or consent continues. Advice can now be passed on to agents to get their listings removed, if that is what they want, and also how to deal with vendors who might be tempted to have their […]