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Bombshell as Cameron announces mandatory licensing of landlords

May 22, 2015

Prime minister David Cameron is set to introduce a mandatory licensing regime of private landlords. What is being described as a bombshell is outlined in a speech Cameron gave yesterday on immigration. Most commentators have so far focused on his announcement that the current ‘right to rent’ trial in the midlands whereby landlords or their […]

Corporates in acquisitions rush pay top prices for independents

| May 22, 2015 The corporates are raiding their treasure chests to go on major acquisition trails of independent high street agents – and if not their businesses, their lettings portfolios. In a buying spree unprecedented for years – probably since the eighties – the prices they are prepared to pay appear to be at […]

Starving market of supply – the households that stay put for years

| May 22, 2015 Households are moving home much less often – often waiting two or three decades – and starving the market of supply. Hometrack said this morning that in cities, the average time between one move and the next has risen markedly. In the 1980s, the average house was changing hands every ten […]

Rents are going skywards, says LSL

| May 22, 2015 Rents are at a record high across England and Wales, according to LSL firms Your Move and Reeds Rains. They said that the average rent stood at £774 in April, including £1,204 in London. In England and Wales, rents jumped 4.6% year on year last month, growing on a monthly basis […]

easyProperty boss confirms imminent launch into sales

| May 22, 2015 easyProperty boss Robert Ellice has confirmed that his company will launch into sales shortly – somewhere between July and September. In an interview, he said: “We have just launched room rentals and a property management service and will be introducing a commercial property lettings offering shortly. “Towards the summer, we will […]

Weak transactions and mortgage lending confirmed in pre-election wobble

| May 22, 2015 Both house sales and mortgage lending were weak in April, as nerves jangled in the run-up to what looked like an uncertain election result. Transactions volumes fell back in April, both seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted, and on both the previous month and previous year. Sales volumes of residential properties were 3.4% […]

High street firms ‘investigated’ by CMA over long sole agency agreements

May 21, 2015

| May 21, 2015 High street agents are said to be under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority for their implementation of sole agency agreements. The claim has come from Russell Quirk, founder of online agent eMoov, who made a complaint earlier this year – with, he says, the advice of Counsel. But while […]

Zoopla keeps up battering of OnTheMarket with new attack

| May 21, 2015 Zoopla sailed back into its relentless attack on OnTheMarket within hours yesterday of confirming to shareholders that by the end of March it had lost 23% of its UK estate agency membership. In its latest onslaught, Zoopla cites its own analysis, claiming that listings and instructions have been climbing for agents […]

Clock ticks down towards duty to publish letting fees

| May 21, 2015 The clock is ticking as letting agents are reminded that they now have less than a week to ensure that they fully publicise the fees they charge to both landlords and tenants. This becomes a statutory duty on Wednesday, May 27, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Agents must display a […]

Developer in hot water after advertising the homes that weren’t

| May 21, 2015 Homes were advertised as being “now available” even though they were on a development that did not exist and had not even received planning permission. Redrow Homes, based in Camberley, Surrey, featured an image of two houses on its website. Text over the image said: “This development is coming soon. Register […]

Labour names new shadow housing minister

| May 21, 2015 Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods is the new Labour shadow housing minister, the party has announced. Professor Blackman-Woods, who comes from Northern Ireland, has been in Parliament since 2005 after being selected as candidate on an all-women list. She is a sociologist with an interest in housing, and her CV includes being […]

Zoopla confirms loss of almost one quarter of agency membership

May 20, 2015

| May 20, 2015 In its first results delivered to the City since the launch of OnTheMarket, Zoopla said it had lost 23% of its UK agency members as at March 31. OnTheMarket, with its “one other portal” rule had launched two months previously. Zoopla said it went on to lose another 106 agents in […]

Connells firm Sequence snaps up major city business

| May 20, 2015 The Liverpool business of one of the best known agents in the north, Farrell Heyworth, has been acquired by Sequence – part of Connells. The actual purchase of the three branches in the city, for an undisclosed sum, is attributed to Jones & Chapman, the Sequence brand in the region. Sequence […]

More tenants in rent arrears as they struggle on low pay

| May 20, 2015 An increasing number of tenants struggled to pay rent in the first quarter of this year, says a report today by Your Move and Reeds Rains. The two agency chains, part of LSL, say that the number of tenants owing more than two months’ rent was up 4% on the same […]

Online v traditional – but are investors being given the facts?

| May 20, 2015 Yet another article about online versus traditional estate agents – but you might want to take a deep breath and ensure you’re sitting down before reading this one. In What Investment magazine (“essential reading for anyone who is interested in getting better returns on their money”), the article explores which type […]

New Rightmove TV advert launches tonight

| May 20, 2015 A nationwide TV advertising campaign promoting Rightmove’s new school checker begins today. The new ad will air on Channel 4 tonight and outdoor posters will appear on bus shelters across the country. The school checker is included on over 1m properties across Great Britain, and includes a school catchment indicator and […]

Cabec Ltd t/a Cream Club: Creditors meeting could be held within weeks

May 19, 2015

| May 19, 2015 The administrators of Cabec Ltd, which traded as Cream Club, say there could be a creditors meeting within weeks. Insolvency manager James Hopkirk, at Begbies Traynor, said: “Jamie Taylor and Lloyd Biscoe of Begbies Traynor were appointed joint administrators on May 5, 2015. “The appointment was made by the holder of […]

Watchdog launches probe into way online agents advertise their fees

| May 19, 2015 The advertising watchdog is to investigate online agents that are advertising their fees exclusive of VAT. The move follows pressure from Adam Day of Hatched, who wrote to the ASA last month claiming that some online agents are flouting the Committee of Advertising Practice guidance to include VAT in advertised rates. […]

Agent ‘gets 300% more inquiries’ after being one of few locally to stay on Zoopla

| May 19, 2015 An agent who says his firm is one of the few in the area to be on Zoopla says that it is working in his favour. Michael Riley, director of Capital & Coastal, said that since the launch of OnTheMarket with its ‘one other portal’ rule, there has been a 300% […]

Agent calls up 24/7 competitor to ask for a valuation at 3am

| May 19, 2015 An estate agent phoned a competitor which claimed to be open 24/7 to request a valuation at 3am. His request was declined and Daniel Pilley, of CXG Estate Agents in Haverhill, Suffolk, has now complained to EweMove – sparking a furious online reaction. Pilley has told the firm: “This is an […]

Petition wants Land Registry to let owners keep property prices private

| May 19, 2015 A petition has launched asking for the Land Registry to give an opt-out to home owners who do not want their property purchase price to be made public. So far, just eight people have signed it so it has hardly got off the ground. It is also unlikely to succeed, as […]

Cabec Ltd, trading as Cream Club, goes into administration

May 15, 2015

Cabec Ltd, trading as Cream Club, has entered administration. This notice has been published today in the Gazette. (Company Number 07459665) Trading Name: The Cream Club Registered office: c/o Cream Group, Unit S3, Compass Point Business Park, St Ives, PE27 5JL Nature of Business: Advertising and Market Research Date of Appointment: Jamie Taylor (IP Number: […]

Something for the weekend: An encounter with the Duke of Edinburgh

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | May 15, 2015 After an initial burst of enthusiasm following our dear Editrix’s kind invitation that I should pen the occasional light-hearted, only slightly property-related article, I’m afraid supply has not met (assumed) demand of late. There are a number […]

Guild and Fine & Country looking at launch of online agency offering

| May 15, 2015 The Guild of Professional Agents and its sister organisation Fine & Country are exploring the launch of an online agency solution for members. It would be called Property Platform. Malcolm Lindley, who is managing director of both the Guild and Fine & Country, yesterday said: “At the moment it is a […]

House prices now growing more quickly outside London

| May 15, 2015 House prices are growing more quickly in the south-east and East Anglia than in London. This morning’s LSL/Acadata house price index says that it is the first time in four and a half years that London’s house price growth does not lead the regions. However, the index covers April which saw […]

Arrears and repossessions fall across both home ownership and buy-to-let

| May 15, 2015 Mortgage arrears and repossessions are falling across both owner-occupier and buy-to-let lending. The Council of Mortgage Lenders says that at the end of the first quarter of this year, the total proportion of mortgages with arrears equivalent to more than 2.5% of the mortgage balance was 1.03%. This was down from […]

All sold! Agent sells almost all its stock in buyer ‘frenzy’

| May 15, 2015 An agent which started the year with 204 properties listed had sold all but one of them by the end of March. The firm, Warners Solicitors and Estate Agents in Edinburgh, said buyers had gone on a “frenzy”. Its sales for the first quarter of this year were 40% up on […]

Picture of the Week: It’s a flat, Jim, but not as we know it

| May 15, 2015 Here is our picture of the week which will transport you to where no human has gone before. Well, apart from selling agents Hope Estates, who have boldly come up with some imaginative details for the studio in Hinckley, Leicestershire. “Calling all Star Trek Fans!“Have you always dreamt of having your […]

Agency boss calls on ministers to bring in urgent regulation of letting agents

May 14, 2015

| May 14, 2015 Estate agency chain Leaders has called on the new government to bring in formal regulation of letting agents. Chief executive Paul Weller said: “More people than ever before now use the services of letting agents. “Yet the vast majority are unaware that letting agents are not regulated by the Government and […]

Housing crisis is now a national emergency, says RICS

| May 14, 2015 The RICS said this morning that the housing crisis is now a national emergency. It called on the Government to address it as a matter of urgency. In an unusually strong statement, the RICS said that last month house prices rose yet again, with a third consecutive monthly decline in supply. […]

ARLA raises concerns over protection of tenants in ‘exceptional hardship’

| May 14, 2015 David Cox, managing director of ARLA, will this morning be giving evidence before the Welsh Assembly on its Renting (Homes) Bill. Also appearing will be the RICS. Cox says that the Welsh Bill is about 12 months further down the line than similar moves in Scotland. ARLA has already made a […]

Overseas investors snap up new homes in housing crisis city

| May 14, 2015 More than half of the new homes sold so far on a development in a city widely recognised to have a housing crisis have gone to foreign buyers, sparking concerns that these will be buy-to-leave investments. The developers, Weston Homes, marketed the scheme in Cambridge at exhibitions in Hong Kong and […]

Upmarket estate agents scolded for ‘gushing’ about post-election price rises

| May 14, 2015 Buying agent Property Vision has accused upmarket agents of shooting themselves in the foot in the wake of the election. A blog on its site says: “Reading the papers and the gushing euphoria from the mouths of some estate agents, you would have thought that a tsunami of money was washing […]

After appointment shambles and all the talk, housing minister still not in Cabinet

May 13, 2015

| May 13, 2015 The housing minister is still not a Cabinet position despite all the election posturing and the shambles over who had been appointed. Yesterday in London, the 150-strong audience at the Great Housing Debate effectively said: “No, Prime Minister.” Members said the decision to snub the housing minister was wrong, and that […]

Prices of Britain’s dearest homes could double in next five years

| May 13, 2015 House prices in prime central London could double in the next five years. The post-election effect is being forecast by agents Douglas & Gordon, which says that the result is “a very bullish outcome” for the London market at all price levels. It says that prices of £2m-plus properties are set […]

Newham Council prosecutes the most landlords and agents

| May 13, 2015 There were 580 prosecutions of private landlords and letting agents in London in the three years to the end of March, new research has revealed. The lion’s share of prosecutions – 359 – were brought by the London borough of Newham, according to figures from housing consultancy London Property Licensing. Most […]

Why are there so many completions on a Friday?

Written by: Stephen Hayter | May 13, 2015 It would make sense if … You were watching a scene from Casualty, and then you might expect to see something similar to this graph coming directly from a heart rate monitor. But if you were a conveyancer you would recognise the graph as being something completely […]

Car owners paid to put agent’s branding on their own vehicles

| May 13, 2015 Ordinary car owners are being paid to use their vehicles to advertise online agent eMoov. They belong to the Car Quids scheme, which launched a year ago. People offer their cars to the scheme, and Car Quids then finds advertisers – in this case eMoov. The car owners are paid between […]

Purplebricks named as best new start-up company of the year

May 12, 2015

| May 12, 2015 Purplebricks has come top of the new Startups 100 2015. The index, issued for the sixth time, gauges and rates the potential of new companies launched in the last three years. Online agent Purplebricks was launched just over a year ago and is a new entry to the list, whose previous […]

Social media better than Rightmove and Zoopla in driving traffic, claim

| May 12, 2015 Social media is driving traffic to an agent’s site, outperforming both Rightmove and Zoopla, it has been claimed. Hybrid agent Hatched offers its add-on social and media marketing package to vendors for £99. It is a bespoke Google Adwords and Facebook pay-per-click campaign, which it launched last October. It is designed […]

Another online agent turns to crowdfunding to raise money

| May 12, 2015 An online estate agency has launched a major crowdfunding campaign to fuel expansion plans. MyHouseAdvert.co.uk, formed in 2011 by Adam Sutherland, claims to have sold over 850 properties across the country worth more than £150m. The Sheffield-based company is now seeking £100,000 of investment for a 10% equity stake via Crowdcube. […]

New housing minister is Essex MP Mark Francois

| May 12, 2015 The new housing minister is Mark Francois – and it looks as though he may have to work hard to gain the confidence of the industry as to his intentions and probable longevity. A former infantry officer in the Territorial Army, he was vice-chairman of a local authority housing committee in […]

Petition opposing rent controls handed in to Scottish Government

| May 12, 2015 As the private rented sector in England heaved a sigh of relief that rent controls are now off the political agenda, a petition opposing their introduction and also the abolition of the ‘no fault’ ground for repossession has been handed in to the Scottish Government. The petition gained some 3,000 signatures […]

Agents enjoy weekend of frenzy as market erupts into life

May 11, 2015

| May 11, 2015 The doors to the prime property market have been flung wide open again. Millions of pounds worth of deals have been done across London and the home counties since Friday morning but markets were picking up elsewhere. Friday, May 8, is like to go down in the industry annals as pure […]

CMA closes investigation into estate agency ‘cartel’ case

| May 11, 2015 The Competition and Markets Authority has closed its investigation into an estate agents’ “cartel” case relating to the advertising of fees. However, the final chapter has not quite ended. The CMA said the full decision will be published “in due course following the redaction of commercially sensitive information”. The three agents […]

Agent abandons taking holding deposits from house purchasers

| May 11, 2015 An agent has reportedly stopped taking holding deposits from buyers when they have offers accepted. The agent had earlier claimed that taking deposits cut fall-throughs markedly. Guardian Money featured a purchaser, Jessica Rose, who said she was asked to hand over £2,000 to west London agent Brian Cox, who would then […]

Touting letter slated as ‘nice way to upset your competitors’

| May 11, 2015 An agent took to Twitter to comment on a touting letter sent by Martin & Co, expressing unease that it named other local agents. Andrew & Co was one of several agents in Ashford, Kent, named in the letter, which has a chart showing that Martin & Co apparently sell more […]

Internet won’t kill off high street agents, says Spectator

| May 11, 2015 Why hasn’t the internet killed estate agents? According to a piece in the Spectator, something called “relational capitalism” will keep agents going for a good while yet. The writer, Rory Sutherland, says high street agents will still be very much around in 50 years’ time. He argues that sellers use estate […]

Independent estate agent sells to Countrywide in eye-popping deal

May 8, 2015

| May 8, 2015 The iconic, cutting-edge and sometimes controversial agent Greene & Co was yesterday bought by Countrywide. The firm, which found fame on television, has been bought for an undisclosed sum, with the deal yet to be officially confirmed. However, Eye understands that the sum paid by Countrywide, in a deal led by […]

Our first 100 days and all looking good, says OnTheMarket

| May 8, 2015 OnTheMarket has announced that it achieved 10m visits to the site with 90m page views in its first full three months of operation – February, March and April. It also said that over 27% of its members are now uploading their new listings to it, ahead of any other portal. In […]