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Big fall in transactions but house prices shoot up

April 21, 2015

| April 21, 2015 The number of property sales fell dramatically last month, says estate agent haart. Based on its own data, it estimates that in March there were 47,056 exchanges, down 6.3% on February and a drop of 19.3% year on year. Haart says that prices were up by 0.9% on a monthly basis […]

U-turn revealed on Tories’ flagship Right to Buy election promise

| April 21, 2015 The Tories appear to have performed a U-turn on their controversial extension of Right to Buy to social housing tenants. Just 18 months ago, then housing minister Kris Hopkins wrote to a Liberal Democrat MP, Tessa Munt, saying that “the Government does not consider that it would be reasonable to require […]

Labour’s mansion tax costs to hit property owners and all taxpayers

| April 21, 2015 Over 120,000 households could face a bill of up to £4,800 each to have their property revalued under Labour’s mansion tax proposals. The total cost to home-owners of having their properties revalued would be some £110m, says Savills. If they do not pay for the revaluations, they could face fines of […]

Purplebricks backer Neil Woodford raises £800m

| April 21, 2015 Hedge fund legend Neil Woodford has raised £800m for his Woodford Patient Capital Trust, which includes online agent Purplebricks in its portfolio. The sum is the most ever raised by a UK investment trust and was over-subscribed by almost 10%. Craig Newman, chief executive of Woodford Investment Management, said: “The support […]

Short-lets firm goes quiet as bank’s fraud department alerted

| April 21, 2015 Mystery continues to surround the company that has been trading as London Short Let Flats. Yesterday, its website was no longer available. When Eye tried to make contact, the phone line was apparently dead when our previous attempts to call simply went through to voicemail. It has also emerged that London […]

Asking prices soar to their highest-ever level

April 20, 2015

| April 20, 2015 The highest-ever average asking price is reported by Rightmove this morning at £286,133, as the property drought tightens. Today’s asking price is 1.6% up on the previous four weeks and dramatically up from the last peak in May last year, when asking prices were £281,782. The number of new sellers is […]

Agents blamed by bank for increase in moving costs

| April 20, 2015 The finger has been pointed at estate agents for raising their fees and driving up the cost of home moving. Lloyds Bank says the average cost of moving house now stands at £8,689, with estate agents getting most of the blame for a £431 increase last year. According to the bank, […]

Dale Eddison, Lynks and Stoneshaw triumph as top estate and letting agents

| April 20, 2015 Lynks Estate Agents in the north-west enjoyed a rewarding day at Friday’s ESTAs, winning silver as the best estate agent in the UK. The ultimate accolade as the UK’s best estate agent went to Dale Eddison Ilkley, while bronze went to Logic Estates. Lynks also picked up the gold award for […]

Green Party leader under attack for demonising private rented sector

| April 20, 2015 Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has come under attack after she attacked the private rented sector – and in particular, buy-to-let landlords whom she blamed for helping to cause the housing crisis. She cited very high returns for landlords in last Thursday night’s television debate between the opposition leaders. She said […]

Agent raises £60,000 for children’s charity after his death at 33

| April 20, 2015 A fund started by an estate agent who was killed in a road crash has raised £60,000 for a children’s charity since his death in September. Mark Davey, 33, who was a director at Indigo Residential in Luton, had survived cancer as a child. At the age of 30 he set […]

High street estate agents earn ‘money for old rope’ says Charles Dunstone

April 17, 2015

| April 17, 2015 Carphone Warehouse tycoon Sir Charles Dunstone has said that estate agents get “money for old rope” and that online agents will do the industry what Uber has done to black cabs. He made the claims in an interview with This is Money. Dunstone, who also heads up Talk Talk, invested £5m […]

TPO due to issue annual report this morning

| April 17, 2015 The Property Ombudsman is due to release his annual report this morning. Given that it is six months since all letting agents were made by law to join a redress scheme, it could be of particular interest to the rental sector. However, with a sales market that has been characterised by […]

A very real housing crisis on our hands, says RICS

| April 17, 2015 There was the smallest annual increase in house prices in March for 16 months, the LSL Acadata survey said this morning. But despite slower rises, average property prices across England and Wales hit a new high, averaging £275,123. March’s property sales were up on a monthly basis, but by only 11.6% […]

Agent puts homes on sale as ‘first that can be bought digitally’

| April 17, 2015 Two properties which can be transacted wholly online have gone on sale. Singer Vielle Sales is marketing the two apartments, which it believes are the first in the country that can be bought entirely digitally. Both properties are tenanted and in the same building in Greenwich, London. While both can be […]

Up to 221,000 housing association tenants could exercise Right to Buy

| April 17, 2015 As many as 221,000 housing association tenants could exercise their right to buy if the Tory manifesto policy is implemented. The figure comes from the National Housing Federation, which believes that this is the number of tenants who would be both eligible and able to afford to buy their homes. Those […]

Winkworth unveils new £50m fees record by franchisees

April 16, 2015

| April 16, 2015 Two of Britain’s best-known franchising firms, AIM-listed Winkworth and Belvoir, have announced their preliminary results for last year. Winkworth had less revenue – £5.5m compared with Belvoir’s £6.5m – but made more pre-tax profit at £1.93m, compared with Belvoir’s £1.8m. Winkworth’s revenue for the year to December 31 was up 11.3% […]

Belvoir announces 18th successive year of profits growth

| April 16, 2015 Belvoir has announced its 18th consecutive year of growth in profits – meaning that the franchise chain has grown every single year since inception. The company has reported an 11% rise in revenue to £6.5m, with pre-tax profits up 10% to £1.8m, for the year to December 31. The firm currently […]

Scottish agents lost £9,000 income a year per branch after fees ban

| April 16, 2015 Belvoir’s Scottish lettings businesses lost an average of £9,000 per year, per branch, after tenants’ fees were banned in late 2012. However, Belvoir director Dorian Gonsalves said that if a ban were to be introduced south of the border, the loss per branch would be higher. He said: “In Scotland it […]

Ombudsman reports mystery short-lets firm to Trading Standards

| April 16, 2015 The company trading as London Short Let Flats which Eye highlighted yesterday has been reported to Trading Standards by the Property Ombudsman. The National Approved Letting Scheme has also reported it, both to Trading Standards and Action Fraud. Yesterday, TPO Christopher Hamer said: “We are aware of this company and can […]

Lib Dems and UKIP unveil their visions for UK housing market

| April 16, 2015 The Lib Dems will build 300,000 homes a year, including ten new ‘garden cities’, says the party’s manifesto. Nick Clegg’s party also pledged a rent to own scheme, where monthly rental payments build up a stake in the home. A help to rent scheme would lend would-be tenants money for a […]

Shock as man discovers short-lets firm is trading from his home address

April 15, 2015

| April 15, 2015 Mystery surrounds a company trading as London Short Let Flats which is displaying a number of industry logos, including TPO. The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) whose logo is also displayed has a warning about www.londonshortflats.co.uk and two others – www.london-citieslodge.co.uk and www.london-holidaylets.co.uk – on its website. The warning says that […]

Conservatives’ Right to Buy promise is blasted by the industry

| April 15, 2015 The industry has reacted with horror to the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to extend Right to Buy to the social housing sector. Altogether, some 1.3m housing association tenants would be able to purchase their homes after three years at a discount of 35%. Jeremy Blackburn, RICS head of policy, said: “Extending the […]

Second political party to abolish letting agent fees and bring in rent controls

| April 15, 2015 The Green Party has said it would abolish letting agent fees and insurance-backed tenancy deposit schemes. It would also introduce five-year fixed tenancy agreements and rent controls and encourage the setting up of local not-for-profit letting agencies. There would be mandatory licensing of all private landlords and tax reliefs currently claimed […]

It’s the law! And this is how changes will affect the private rented sector

| April 15, 2015 Over 100 delegates attended the fact-filled Landlord Law conference held yesterday at Homerton College, Cambridge. With a clear emphasis on legal matters affecting properties in the private rented sector, a very wide range of topics was on the agenda. Conference moderator Graeme Gee welcomed attendees before handing over to his wife, […]

Newly agreed rents rise 10% in a year

| April 15, 2015 Newly agreed rents are 10.2% higher than a year ago, referencing firm HomeLet has reported. It says the average rent on a tenancy signed in the first three months of this year was £902 per month, compared with £819 for the same period last year. Excluding Greater London, average rents across […]

Spring surprise – the highest number of property valuations since 2007

April 14, 2015

| April 14, 2015 March was the strongest on record for property valuations in any month since 2007, it has been claimed. In other positive news for estate agents, telephone answering service Moneypenny said that March was a particularly busy month. Connells Survey & Valuation said it saw a 36% increase in activity compared with […]

Labour confirms ban on letting agent fees in manifesto

| April 14, 2015 Labour’s manifesto, published yesterday, has confirmed that the party will ban letting agent fees if it wins the election. The manifesto also confirms that it will legislate to make three-year tenancies the norm and introduce rent caps. The manifesto says: “For the 11 million people who rent privately, we will legislate […]

Landlords already bailing out of Scottish rental market as legislation bites

| April 14, 2015 Landlords are bailing out of the Scottish rental market because of legislative changes being imposed by the Scottish Government, it has been claimed. Most recently, the Government confirmed it will be abolishing the “no fault” ground for possession in a new housing act this autumn. Thomas Ashdown, founder of specialist lettings […]

Bushells and Edmund Cude names disappear in rebranding

| April 14, 2015 Two noted and long-established estate agency names, Bushells and Edmund Cude, have disappeared from the London scene to be replaced by a new entity, Portico. Edmund Cude was one of the oldest agents in London, having been in business for nearly 200 years, while Bushells traded for nearly 80. The rebranding […]

Spending cutbacks lead to almost no HMO prosecutions

| April 14, 2015 Just one council in North Wales has prosecuted HMO landlords over the past three years for failing to maintain their properties properly, according to Freedom of Information figures obtained by local paper the Daily Post. Conwy County Council brought three cases before the courts between January 2012 and January this year. […]

Sub-letting row continues as landlords demand: Why was no one consulted?

April 10, 2015

| April 10, 2015 A landlords’ body has demanded to know why there was no consultation over plans to allow private tenants to sub-let. The proposal, meant to encourage the sharing society, has attracted major controversy in the industry, leading to speculation that it could lead to tenants running bed and breakfasts, and that landlords […]

Launch of OnTheMarket has only made Rightmove stronger says UBS

| April 10, 2015 Shares in both Rightmove and Zoopla have enjoyed a strong week – Rightmove after Swiss bank UBS raised its price target to 3470p, and Zoopla despite being heavily “shorted”. UBS tipped Rightmove shares as a buy. It said that the launch of OnTheMarket had had little impact on Rightmove, “with Zoopla […]

Mystery partner set to go in with property portal that bans agents

| April 10, 2015 The property portal that bans agents but allows developers and private sellers to list free is being wooed by a mystery partner. As a result, the iProperty Company has pulled an existing crowdfunding campaign which raised £310,000. It has now re-listed, with a lower valuation of the company, and seeking to […]

House prices still going up says Halifax

| April 10, 2015 House prices went up 0.4% in March to stand at a “seasonally adjusted” £192,971. According to the Halifax, in the first quarter of this year, average house prices went up 2.6%, bringing annual inflation to 8.1%. The Halifax is forecasting house prices to go up this year by between 3% and […]

Agents and landlords call for help with immigration checks on tenants

| April 10, 2015 There have been 636 inquiries since December 1 to the helpline set up to advise letting agents and landlords about immigration checks on tenants. The figure has been revealed by the Home Office. The average call lasts three minutes and 29 seconds. The Home Office Landlords Helpline was set up last […]

OTM pours scorn on claim of ‘dozens of agents returning to Zoopla’

April 9, 2015

| April 9, 2015 Zoopla says that “dozens” of agents who left it to trial OnTheMarket have now returned. Yesterday evening, OTM dismissed the latest blast from Zoopla as “hand-wringing” and said Zoopla was continuing to lose business to it. In a statement yesterday, Zoopla also said that the launch of OTM in January had […]

Letting agent goes to jail after theft of up to £30,000

| April 9, 2015 A woman who stole so much money from tenants that she brought the lettings company she worked for to its knees, has been jailed for 15 months. Alison Bush has gone to prison with no one knowing exactly how much she had taken. Bush, 45, was head-hunted from the Heritage Lettings […]

Scottish Government moves to make tenancies ‘indefinite’

| April 9, 2015 Feelings are running high in Scotland where the Scottish Government has launched a second consultation into a reform of the private rented sector, including the indefinite extension of a tenancy after an initial period of six months or a year. The new paper underlines that the Government is already firmly “committed” […]

Do we really need so many estate agents on high streets, asks new research

| April 9, 2015 The streets of London are paved … with estate agents. Research which used only Rightmove data and therefore does not include any agents not on the portal, claims to have found that across London there are over 2,600 high street estate agents’ branches. In seven London boroughs, there are more than […]

High street agents ‘over-valuing homes by an average of £74,000′

| April 9, 2015 Online agent eMoov has claimed that high street agents are putting homes on the market over-priced to the tune of £74,000. It claims this is the gap between the average “sold” price in the UK with Rightmove’s average listing price. However, its maths could be considered slightly unusual. It says the […]

Why politicians’ talk of banning letting agent fees is wide of the mark

April 8, 2015

Written by: Eric Walker | April 8, 2015 There has been a lot of talk regarding banning tenant fees, but is this really the issue that should be a focus for reform or manifesto? Claims that agents charge thousands of pounds in fees are simply wrong. Security deposits are not fees. A month’s advance rent […]

Uproar after agent’s touting letter sparks petition and prospect of demo

| April 8, 2015 An agent which sent a touting letter to landlords telling them they could get higher rents has found itself at the centre of a major controversy. More than 11,200 people have so far signed a petition objecting to the letter sent by a CJ Hole franchisee in Bristol. A protest march […]

Chesterman slams OnTheMarket for old-fashioned outlook

| April 8, 2015 Alex Chesterman “unexpectedly has a battle on his hands”, according to the Financial Times. The Zoopla boss is now battling to prevent further inroads into his customer base after losing 11% of his estate agency advertisers because of OnTheMarket’s ‘one other portal’ rule. But Chesterman does not seem to believe that […]

Law Society’s new conveyancing portal running behind schedule

| April 8, 2015 Veyo, the new conveyancing portal that is majority owned by the Law Society, is running behind schedule. The original date for launch was to have been last month. However, no launch date has yet been set and chief executive Elliott Vigar yesterday told Eye that it will be “a few more […]

Want to have that winning feeling? Peter Knight advises

| April 8, 2015 The Lettings and Estate Agency of the Year Awards in association with The Sunday Times and The Times are the most prestigious and coveted awards in the industry. Here – from founder and organiser (and former estate agent) Peter Knight – are the reasons why agents don’t win. They don’t enter […]

Hunters looks to launch on stock market this summer

April 7, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | April 7, 2015 Hunters is looking to launch on the stock market this summer. The fast-growing group, based in Yorkshire but with a national franchised operation, announced in February its plans to go public. It recruited Harry Hill, former boss of Countrywide and founder of Rightmove, as its new CEO […]

Protesters target Foxtons branch yet again

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | April 7, 2015 A protest was held outside the Foxtons branch in Brixton at the weekend. The event, which aimed to highlight the impact of soaring house and rental prices on the community, was organised by a group called OurBrixton, led by rapper Potent Whisper. Demonstrators stood outside Foxtons holding […]

Countrywide to continue buying spree of letting agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | April 7, 2015 Countrywide has revealed it has bought four lettings businesses so far this year – and is scouting for more. The acquisitions in the first three months of 2015 are Property Links in Plymouth, Anderson Residential in Sutton Coldfield, the large portfolio of HE Lettings in Lincolnshire and […]

House prices ‘will rise after general election’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | April 7, 2015 Property prices are likely to head upwards after the election, agents haart said this morning. It said that history shows house prices have risen in every post-election quarter since 1983. It said that on average, prices have surged 3.2%. CEO Paul Smith said that some sellers would […]

Agent triumphs in half marathon a year after open heart surgery

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | April 7, 2015 Many congratulations to estate agent Alex Beresford, who has run a half marathon in aid of the British Heart Foundation after undergoing open heart surgery last year at the age of just 26. Alex, manager of the Beresford branch in Chelmsford, Essex, completed the Brentwood event, raising […]