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Updated: 44 min 2 sec ago

Chestertons buyers asked to submit bids

13 hours 25 min ago

Potential buyers of Chestertons, the high end London agent which is for sale with an asking price of £50m, are likely to submit their offers later this week.

The firm is owned by the Mercantile Group - an investment firm controlled by Libya-born Salah Mussa - and by London-based private equity firm Tridevi. Chestertons appointed Cavendish Corporate Finance to find a buyer back in July. 

 

Now London’s free-to-readers daily paper, the Evening Standard, claims that bid documents will be sent out to would-be buyers — a mix of private equity firms, rival estate agents and commercial property players wanting a residential aim - by close of business on Friday, with the new owner being revealed by the end of the year.

 

Back in February, Estate Agent Today revealed that the old Chesterton Humberts agency would split its residential activities into two companies with separate brand names and different geographical areas. ‘Chestertons’ now consists of 29 London offices and 20 international branches; Humberts operates its 24 existing branches outside of the M25.

 

Ironically just before the split, the old Chesterton Humbers was awarded the title of sales agent of the year 2014 in the RESI awards organised by Property Week magazine.

 

Chestertons and Humberts have existed before as separate businesses in different ownerships but in 2009 the pair merged. 

 

Humberts in particular has had a troubled time. It was briefly in administration in 2008 and now has had a controversial rebrand with some of its own agents complaining to Estate Agent Today that its new pastel-coloured ‘floral’ style logo “lacks punch”. 

 

  • Chestertons
  • london
  • housing market
Categories: News feeds

Agents asked to sell Spanish new-builds again

13 hours 25 min ago

Agents of a certain age may remember the day when even humble branches sold properties in Spain as well as those in their own patches of the UK - the same thing may be about to happen again.

The NAEA is inviting agents to find out about  international sales markets, especially the primary market for UK buyers: Costa Blanca in Spain. It says there are opportunities for agents to earn up to six per cent sales commission. 

 

The association suggest agents target their own existing databases for potential buyers, as well as attracting new business through home owners wanting to move to Spain

 

The NAEA, through its links with the Association of International Property Professionals, says it has 10 property developers in the Costa Blanca (and all members of AIPP) able to offer apartments and villas priced from €80k to €4.5m.

 

Each developer has a minimum of 30 years standing in the marketplace - the longest is 52 years - and can evidence their fully-licensed credentials, agent contracts and prompt sales commission payments.

 

There is also agent trips being arranged to the Costa Blanca and Barcelona. It wants agents who are interested to contact alisa@aipp.org.uk for more details.

 

  • NAEA
  • Spain
  • New Build Homes
Categories: News feeds

Portal says Yes could slash Scottish prices

13 hours 25 min ago

Zoopla claims that a Yes victory in Thursday’s Scottish referendum could trigger price falls north of the border. 

The portal claims that over the last two years Scottish house prices have grown on average by 8.3 per cent with the average value now standing at £177,599.

 

But Zoopla contents that if the economic impact on Scotland is as severe as some recent market commentary has suggested, a Yes vote could potentially create a market shock on a par with the recent financial crisis when house prices in Scotland fell by 17.5 per cent.

 

If that happened it would wipe over £31,000 off the value of the average Scottish home and £85 billion off the value of the total housing stock in Scotland.

 

Zoopla says property pricing is a function of demand and supply and with the recent announcements by a number of large businesses and employers in Scotland of their intent to move south of the border following the referendum, a Yes vote could increase supply of available properties while negatively impacting demand due to worker migration. 

 

Further uncertainties following a Yes vote surrounding tax, currency and interest rates are also likely to impact negatively on house prices in Scotland. 

 

Mortgages could become harder to obtain with a more limited choice of lenders and higher interest rates could result. And homeowners could be earning wages in a new currency but stuck with mortgages in sterling which would leave them exposed to currency fluctuations, struggling to pay their mortgage and in negative equity.

 

Despite the gains of the past couple of years, Scottish house prices still remain 2.2 per cent below their peak reached in August 2008. 

 

  • zoopla
  • scotland
  • housing market
Categories: News feeds

Valuations see monthly rise but mixed long-term picture

13 hours 25 min ago

The volume of valuations rose in August, despite the holiday season, but even so the annual number is still falling according to Connells. 

The total number of valuations carried out by the firm last month was 13 per cent higher than in July. However, this leaves valuations activity down on an annual basis with four per cent fewer valuations compared with the year to August 2013.

 

A Connells spokesman says:  “It’s worth remembering activity is now up 5% compared to August 2007. Moreover, initial signs are positive for September and –barring unforeseen financial wobbles – the housing market is set for solid and sustainable progress through the autumn.”

 

First time buyers still represent the largest category with new buyers representing 30 per cent of all valuations in August. Valuations on behalf of existing owners moving house numbered 18 per cent more in August than in July. 

 

By contrast, remortgaging activity has fallen most sharply on an annual basis, down five per cent over the past 12 months compared to the year to August 2013. This is despite an eight per cent increase in the number of remortgaging valuations on a monthly basis.

 

Buy To Let was the only section of the housing market where activity is higher on an annual basis now than was the case 12 months ago. This comes after a 29 per cent increase in the number of BTL valuations between July and August.

 

  • Connells
  • Valuations
  • housing market
Categories: News feeds

Zoopla urges 21st century digital world

13 hours 25 min ago

Zoopla is one of over 200 of the UK’s leading start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors to sign a petition called The Startup Manifesto, urging the next government to bring the country’s digital “policy into the 21st century”.

Zoopla chief executive and founder Alex Chesterman has signed the document, which sets out 24 ways that government could amend its policies towards digital skills and technology in order to make Britain a “world leader” in digital technology.

 

Demands include tax breaks for firms and individuals in return for volunteering to teach code, the creation of a legal framework for the online currency bitcoin and more investment in teaching a more computer-focussed curriculum in schools.  

 

More than 150 entrepreneurs and investors have signed up to the non-partisan 24-point Startup Manifesto, which was published by the COADEC coalition that is sponsored by hi-tech businesses including Google, TechHub, iHorizon and Intuit.  

 

The manifesto has been written by Guy Levin, a former economics advisor to George Osborne. It wants a future government to agree to keep the current government‘s Digital Service, which has simplified and relaunched many online government services. This includes the Digital By Default initiative, which has seen the Land Registry become the sole source of land search information in a bid to, in its words, provide “a simpler conveyancing process.”

 

Labour has welcomed the COADEC initiative but other major parties have yet to comment. 

 

  • zoopla
  • Alex Chesterman
  • Digital
Categories: News feeds

Campaign to combat leasehold sale fall-throughs

15 September 2014 - 1:00am

A so-far-unpublished survey by the Conveyancing Association reportedly claims that a quarter of its members had experienced a buyer losing a leasehold property purchase due to delays and high fees levied by managing agents.

The claim, made in the Sunday Times, says one in three property transactions in England and Wales are now leasehold, with the annual total of fees levied by managing agents on purchasers now being around £80m. 

 

The paper also claims the report shows that 67 per cent of people buying leasehold property experience delays of more than a month, apparently down to managing agents’ slowness. Some 48 per cent of buyers of leasehold property are charged over £500 by managing agents, often for what is considered by some conveyancing firms as routine paperwork.

 

Now the Conveyancing Association is reportedly teaming up with the Bold Legal Group - which represents some of the UK’s largest conveyancing law firms - to appeal to MPs to amend the Consumer Rights’ Bill which is now going through parliament.

 

Some bodies studying the problem - such as the Competition and Markets’ Authority, which is currently consulting with leasehold owners about their experiences with managing agents - say there should be an ombudsman-style service to act as a force against disproportionate charges and slow processing of paperwork by certain managing agents. 

 

The Sunday Times cited a case study of a buyer who had to date been waiting six months for her purchase to go through, allegedly because of managing agents’

delays. She will apparently have to pay the agents £864 to cover administrative costs; the vendors of the property have already paid £500 to the agents to cover the cost of compiling an information pack and sending it to the buyer’s solicitor. 

 

  • FallThroughs
  • Leasehold
  • Conveyancing Association
Categories: News feeds

Veteran millionaire agent buys Sotheby's franchise

15 September 2014 - 1:00am

Robin Paterson, the agent who reportedly made millions through Hamptons International, has teamed up with another property mogul to buy the British franchise of Sotheby’s.

Paterson and Chris Palmer reportedly aim to invest £7m in the business with plans to expand it in prime central London from its current three offices to 15 and to add a further seven branches in the Home Counties. 

 

Paterson has been living and working in the Caribbean since selling Hamptons International for £45m in 2004. In 2005 he founded Capital88 in 2008 to develop 88 St James’s Street in London, and worked with the development of the Four Seasons private residences in Barbados.

 

In recent years he has purchased an island in the Grenadines and has worked with British entrepreneur Peter de Savary on the sale and marketing of units on Grenada.

 

Countrywide - which held the Sotheby’s British franchise until announcing the disposal early this summer - had similar plans back in 2010 to expand the Sotheby’s brand but these were abandoned when, ironically, it also acquired Hamptons International. In the past four years it has concentrated on making this the group’s premier up-scale brand. 

 

  • Sotheby's
  • Hamptons Internatoinal
  • Robin Paterson
Categories: News feeds

Agency chief explains: "why I didn't move online"

15 September 2014 - 1:00am

An agent who considered abandoning the traditional agency model and setting up an online-only business says internet sales do not allow for two fundamental elements of the property business.

Matthew Dabell, who runs the Aspire agency in south London, has told Estate Agent Today that five years ago he considered setting up an online-only business but changed his mind for two reasons. 

 

"Firstly, without an office or local contact you only get known through marketing and PR spend. That costs a large fortune.” His second reason was that his preferred way of selling was through personal contact, which is difficult - some say impossible - when the sales process is largely or wholly online.

 

He says 45 per cent of his sales come initially from Rightmove and Zoopla with 24 per cent directly from his agency's own website and no fewer than 20 per cent through personal recommendations. 

 

Although Dabell says he understands the appeal of online activities to agents and vendors alike, he believes the medium is better suited to lettings than sales.

 

“More landlords are prepared to show tenants around and an unseen and possibly inaccurate valuation is less risky on a rental unit than on a house that's for sale" he says. 

 

But he saves his biggest criticism for the problematic valuations which he has seen undertaken by some online agents. 

 

He recently saw one online agent value a property in south London - unseen - at £650,000 even though Dabell believes it was actually worth £200,000 more. 

 

To pour petrol on the water, Dabell saw that the online agent emailed the vendor proudly telling them that they were saving £7,000 in traditional estate agency fees - even though they were actually at risk of losing £200,000 thanks to the faulty valuation.

 

"It really is a joke" he says.

 

  • Aspire
  • Matthew Dabell
  • Online Agents
Categories: News feeds

Early-autumn market unusually busy - Rightmove

15 September 2014 - 1:00am

Asking prices have risen 0.9 per cent in the past month according to Rightmove, in the first September increase since 2011. 

The portal says the asking prices of property coming to market this month are up by £2,474 - a sharp contrast to the average change in September (a fall of 0.5 per cent) recorded by Rightmove over the past 10 years.

 

Enquiries sent to agents are good lead indicators of demand and Rightmove claims to have generated over four million enquiries in August, the second highest level ever recorded, with only January this year being marginally higher. Enquiries from mobile devices are up by 45 per cent this August compared to last.

 

“There are early signs of a bounce-back in demand after the summer lull. While there is more property coming to market this year, it has been more than swallowed up by increased sales. There is already 10 per cent less property available per estate agency branch compared to this time a year ago, and with enquiries by phone and email to agents up by 16 per cent compared to August last year, you can see why there has been an earlier than usual price pick-up” says Rightmove analyst Miles Shipside. 

 

However, the average time to sell across all England and Wales has risen slightly from 64.3 days a month ago to 65.8 days now. Time to sell in London has risen more dramatically from 45.3 days a month ago to 49 days now.

 

Annual asking price changes range from a rise of 13 per cent in London to a drop of 0.7 per cent in the West Midlands, indicating how divided the market remains. The largest increase by property type has been for flats and apartments, with asking prices some 13.4 per cent more now than a year ago; semi-detached houses are 7.2 per cent higher.

 

With only four days to go to the Scottish independence referendum, the portal forecasts that a Yes majority will create uncertainty in the market.

 

“Even the very debate around independence and possible implications for the economic outlook for the rest of the UK could cause uncertainty in the minds of potential home-movers. Speculation amongst economic forecasters on topics such as upwards pressure on interest rates, availability of wholesale funding for lenders, and the geographic location of major financial institutions are potentially destabilising influences” says Shipside. 

 

  • rightmove
  • housing market
  • asking prices
Categories: News feeds

Most agents sit on the fence over independence

15 September 2014 - 1:00am

With four days to go before the Scottish referendum most agents operating both south and north of the border appear to be sitting on the fence over the independence issue - with one exception. 

Agents including Savills and LSL Property Services, contacted by Estate Agent Today, refused to give their view on the matter while others like Knight Frank said they had considered the matter but would resist taking a public position.

 

A spokesman for one of Scotland’s leading agents, Rettie & Co., said it was also keeping silent: “Too much is open to misinterpretation and we’re a service business” says a spokesman.

 

One exception to the rule, however, has been Strutt & Parker, which has residential sales in Scotland as well as substantial estate and farm activities.

 

It claims that rises in bank interest rates would occur should Scotland choose not to accept its share of the national debt, potentially leading to an increase of £5,200 per annum on the average mortgage. 

 

Strutts also says uncertainty over currency means that it is difficult to predict exactly what mortgage lenders would do with existing Scottish customers. It claims these uncertainties around currency and credit risk could deter buyers from entering the market and result in a significant effect on house prices, mostly likely driving them down north of the border.

 

Farmland and rural businesses will be affected if Scotland is no longer part of the EU. 

 

Strutt & Parker says that according to DEFRA, Scotland receives about €600 million a year in CAP direct payments and rural development payments, and if lost this could have significant implication for Scottish farmers. 

 

However, if under independence Scotland does become a member of the EU and receives CAP payments it could be better off with farmers receiving €196 per hectare compared to the €130 at present.

 

  • scotland
  • Referendum
  • strutt & Parker
Categories: News feeds

Mystery surrounds 'free' Houser portal

12 September 2014 - 1:00am

Mystery surrounds a possible new property portal called Houser, which has circulated the media with details of what it calls a free listings service for agents which is “launching soon”.

A test version of the site is on www.houser.co.uk but there are few details of the service itself and links to ‘about’ - which normally provide background information on a website’s origination - are not yet live.

 

But it does claim to be “the UK’s First True Real Estate Search Engine” and gives a limited time offer - sign up to a webinar and get up to five years of listings for free.

 

The site as it stands makes no reference to direct sales or online sales by vendors, so appears unlikely to be anything other than a new portal. 

 

Elsewhere on the site it says:

 

“Houser.co.uk will do for real estate in UK what Google has done for search. We will give you access to the largest index of property related pages, leading house hunters directly to the source of listings. Now you can say goodbye to spending hours browsing tens of different sites searching for your ideal home.”

 

“Houser connects you with the right estate agent at the right time. Whether you’re simply planning, researching or creating a list of properties - Houser intelligently finds the best information for you and suggests whom to speak to next.”

 

“Save the properties you find into collections and share them publicly or privately. Explore and follow other collections, interact with expert local real estate agents, take a look at the gardens, homes and users in the area you desire and discover everything freely - you never know what you’ll find!”

 

“Charging agents to list their properties is a thing of the past. All property portals in the UK want to charge real estate agents ever increasing fees for listings because these agents have no viable alternatives. Real search engines on the other hand, never charge for organic listings.”

 

Do you or your agency know anything of this portal? If so, please let us know.

 

  • Houser
  • Property Portals
  • estate agents
Categories: News feeds

Slowest house-buying time on portals? This afternoon...

12 September 2014 - 1:00am

Rightmove has used its new real-time data feed to analyse different periods of traffic flow by public users and different updating patterns by advertrising agents - and the time of the week with the least viewing is Friday afternoons. 

Currently the busiest time for searches and sending enquiries is Tuesday at 9pm as more people use mobile devices to look for property, with Fridays proving the least popular. 

 

Searching on mobile telephony has increased by almost 50 per cent in the past year with smartphone and tablet browsing now making up over half of all property detail views on Rightmove. Generally in August enquiries by phone and email from Rightmove agents were up 13 per cent year on year, and those sent via a mobile device were up 45 per cent.

 

Those looking for a rental property should also keep an eye out on Wednesdays at 5pm, which is the peak time for letting properties to be added instantly.

 

Rightmove - no doubt anxious to push its high traffio rate as the war with Zoopla and OnTheMarket intensifies - says it has 1.6m visitors daily. 

 

 

“We now send one million property alerts out to home-hunters every day. As browsing increasingly shifts to mobile you can find out about a new relevant property on the go and at various times of the day” says a spokesman. 

 

  • rightmove
  • House Buying
  • Property Portals
Categories: News feeds

Agent's WW1 marketing campaign pays off

12 September 2014 - 1:00am

A recently-opened single-office agency in Suffolk claims to have sold £1.5m of properties in 48 hours by using a World War One-themed ‘Kitchener’ style marketing campaign.

The agency, Best Estates, opened in April, expanding from its previous status of being a holiday lettings business. It used its seagull logo in a Kitchener-style motif stating that if you’re thinking of selling your house, YOU NEED Best Estates.

 

"Vendors are embracing our philosophy that strong marketing, supported by a powerful work ethic and immense energy will get them the best possible results" claims office manager Matthew Piercy. 

 

The agency recently sponsored the Aldeburgh Mini-marathon with members of the team taking part, whilst also sponsoring a folk event.

 

  • Best Estates
  • Aldeburgh
  • marketing
Categories: News feeds

Agents Do Charity - Let's Do This

12 September 2014 - 1:00am

Here is the latest set of exploits undertaken by our industry in the name of charity.

We at EAT and LAT hugely admire the often-unsung work by agents who donate energy, time and money to charity. We want to shine a spotlight on this side of agency. 

If you want to be mentioned, please let us know. Email press@estateagenttoday.co.uk.

 

In the meantime, here are this week’s updates.

 

MacMillan Nurses: Staff from Munrolock Sales and Lettings (based near EAT’s HQ in Beckenham) are taking part in the great MacMillan coffee morning on September 26. The firm is trying to get as many people involved as possible - local businesses have donated raffle prizes, such as a photoshoot, free boiler service, free entry and private table at a local club, free window clean and many more great prizes. There will be coffee, tea, home made cakes and sweets on the day...if you can beat the EAT crew to the good stuff. More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/751960878197891/  

 

Marie Curie Cancer Care: Property auction service provider iam-sold has been working all year to raise awareness and money for the charity, including an Easter Egg Hunt and a Bubble Football tournament. A team of 20 also took part in the Bupa Great North Run, the 3.1 mile course from Newcastle to South Shields. As a whole, the iam-sold runners and the company managed to raise almost £7,000 with donations still coming in. iam-sold runner, Tania Bonesi really enjoyed her first experience of the Great North Run: “The only way I can describe it is as surreal and emotional. The idea of thousands of people running all that way for various charities or just for fun is really motivating and there was a real feeling of everyone coming together and supporting each other through it. I’m really proud to have been a part of it and I did so much better than I thought I would have, achieving a time of 2 hours 25 minutes and 2 seconds and raising £220.”

 

Dogs For The Disabled: Belvoir Bolton’s property manager Alison Whittaker laced up her walking boots for a challenge in aid of Dogs for the Disabled. She set off from St Bee’s in Cumbria for a 192-mile trek across the UK to Robin Hood’s Bay; along with a friend she completed the challenge in 13 days and raised more than £700. “I do a lot of hill walking out and about locally and the coast-to-coast trek was a challenge I’d always wanted to do,” explains Alison. “It was on my bucket list of things I’d like to achieve and as a big birthday (my 50th) approached, I thought, let’s just do it.” This year, Belvoir offices across the UK have decided to focus their fund-raising efforts on local charities and generous franchise owners and staff have already raised thousands for causes in their communities.

 

Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service: Eight brave directors from the Romans Group have risen to the Ice Bucket Challenge and raised over £600 towards Berkshire’s first children’s hospice. The business is renowned locally for making the most of any charitable event and raising as much as they can for their charity of choice the. Employees pledged hundreds of pounds to see a team of directors get soaked to the core with icy cold water.  “After the initial idea was put forward it took just two days to reach over £500 thanks to generous staff donations” comments Peter Coles, group managing director. If you want to give to a good cause and don’t fancy getting cold and wet yourself, you can donate here: www.justgiving.com/RomansIceBucketChallenge/ 

 

  • Charity
  • estate agents
  • Estate Agent Today
Categories: News feeds

Video round up 12.09.14 - Watch the weekly news from Estate Agent Today

11 September 2014 - 1:00am

Watch the latest weekly video roundup of news from Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today, featuring stories on Rightmove's quietest times, Buy-to-Let regulations and for sale board wars.

  • Weekly Round Up
  • Estate Agent Today
Categories: News feeds

New housing policies set to be announced

11 September 2014 - 1:00am

The government is set to unveil new housing policies at this morning’s first session of the RESI 14 conference, one of the residential sector’s biggest events of the year.

The conference, held at the Celtic Manor resort in south Wales which last week hosted the NATO summit, will hear from housing minister Brandon Lewis who is making a 30-minute keynote speech to open the event.

 

He is expected to emphasis the government’s drive to increase transparency in the housing market by allowing three rival ombudsman-style services to operate across the sales sector for estate agents, and by making membership of one of those three mandatory for letting agents as well, from October 1.

 

The conference will also hear from Lucien Cook, head of residential research at Savills, who will issue a warning that although the market is recovering across the country, it owes much of that recovery to an unprecedented period of low interest rates and any likely rate rise in the next two to three years may present risks. 

 

Cook is warning that the two per cent interest rate rise hinted at by Bank of England govcernor Mark Carney - which may be implemented in small rises by late 2017 - “would add £2,360 to the annual interest paid by the average mortgaged owner occupier, squeezing existing household finances and making it much more expensive to take on more debt to move up the housing ladder.”

 

Cook also says that in London it already costs an average of £9,989 to pay to own a home. “The same two per cent rate rise would add £4,000 of interest to the average costs borne by those with a mortgage in the capital” he says.

 

Brandon Lewis is expected to steer clear of references to prices but he will be buoyed up by figures released this morning by the House Builders’ Federation which show that planning permissions for 56,647 new homes were granted in England in the second quarter of this year - the highest number for over six years. 

 

The figures, produced for HBF by construction analysts Glenigan, show that the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in particular has increased demand for new homes, enabling builders to increase the rate at which existing sites are built out. However, whilst the overall number of plots getting permission is back to 2008 levels, the number of actual sites getting approval is lagging behind and remains low in comparison to six years ago. 

 

  • Brandon Lewis
  • housing market
  • Resi14
Categories: News feeds

Agent accuses rivals of board-wars

11 September 2014 - 1:00am

Dozens of for sale boards belonging to a new estate agency in south London have been taken down - and the sales manager is blaming jealous rival agents.

Ryan Tuke of 1Residential, a new agency in Tooting, says at least 16 boards worth a total of around £1,000 have been removed from vendors’ properties under the cover of darkness. 

 

"One of the clients had CCTV. We saw a board being taken down and put in the back of a van. We have put the boards back up now. We are hoping people see we haven’t done anything wrong and there are other agents out there that do this sort of thing” Tuke has told the local media.

 

1Residential describes itself as a family run business with an office in Redhill as well as one in Tooting. The business, which handles lettings and property management as well as sales, has been operating for only four months.

 

"We are flattered a little bit because it does show that we are ruffling feathers for another agent to feel the need to sabotage the way we are marketing. It means we are doing something right but obviously it is quite saddening they have to do that. It says more about them than it does us” says Tuke.

 

Wandsworth police told Estate Agent Today that it had so far had not made any arrests although investigations were continuing.

 

  • 1Residential
  • london
  • Estate Agents' Boards
Categories: News feeds

Rightmove warned on Agents' Mutual impact

11 September 2014 - 1:00am

A respected brokerage firm has warned Rightmove that its recent successful share performance may come under pressure if its clients move to Agents’ Mutual’s rival OnTheMarket performance.

Canaccord Genuity - one of a number of investment advice services which talked up Rightmove’s status to investors - has lowered its rating for the portal from 'buy' to 'hold'. It says this is to be expected after the portal’s stock price rose significantly - about eight per cent - since its good half-year figures released at the end of July. 

 

The broker said that Rightmove generates high-quality returns and the business has good momentum. But a statement says: "As the share price rises the value attractions reduce."

 

Canaccord Genuity says that in the absence of any significant news on membership of Agents' Mutual it is leaving its revenue and earnings forecasts for Rightmove unchanged.

 

But it says that these estimates could come under pressure if large numbers of Rightmove's clients support Agents' Mutual's launch in 2015.

 

  • rightmove
  • Agents’ Mutual
  • Canaccord
Categories: News feeds

The Home Seller does Agents' Mutual u-turn

11 September 2014 - 1:00am

Hybrid estate agency The Home Seller, which earlier this year publicly-endorsed Agents’ Mutual, says it is now against the portal because of its opposition to online agents and what it believes may be technical limitations on how properties may be advertised.

Luke Power, managing director of the The Home Sellers, says he represented his Cornish-based agency at a meeting arranged by Agents’ Mutual earlier this year. Despite initial scepticism at AM’s ability to challenge existing portals Rightmove and Zoopla, he came away convinced of its likely success for two reasons.

 

“Firstly that the group have already raised a significant amount of investment, £7m as far as I am aware. Secondly because Agents’ Mutual are asking agents to ditch one of either Rightmove or Zoopla” says Power in a blog just posted to his agency’s site. 

 

He went on to argue the case for Agents’ Mutual, tweeting after the meeting that “very interesting & solid presentation, thank you. A room full of fear, determination & excitement!”.

 

However, Power now claims to have gone full circle for two reasons.

 

The first is that he says he wanted to register with Agents’ Mutual but could not because - although he offers what he calls “personal service, presenter-led film tours [and] tailored marketing” - he could not join AM because he did not operate a traditional high street office and so did not meet the new portal’s rule allowing “only bona fide full service office-based sales or letting agents.” Power claims this removes choice from consumers.

 

His second reason for opposing AM is that his firm has produced video tours - for other agents as well as his own - and regards these as useful for selling properties and winning internet rankings. However, Power says Agents’ Mutual has not been able to say whether video will be able to be embedded in property listings. 

 

Power ends his blog by saying that his initial view of Agents’ Mutual - which launches next year as On The Market - may have been correct, and that it is “another old boys’ club which, although showing good signs of disrupting the market, will actually be held back by their inability to really innovate and, crucially, deliver a website that the consumer will have any interest in.”

 

  • The Home Seller
  • Agents' Mutual
  • OnTheMarket
Categories: News feeds

Half-year figures boost for Winkworth

11 September 2014 - 1:00am

Franchise giant Winkworth has reported strong results for the first half of 2014 with sales income up by over 20 per cent, pre-tax profits up by a third, and four new offices opened.

Winkworth’s franchisees increased sales transactions by 28 per cent, with a particularly strong showing in the country markets where transactions were 43 per cent higher. The gross property revenues of franchisees grew by 23 per cent from £19.1 million to £23.5 million, within which rental income rose by 11 per cent to £7.9m.

 

Winkworth’s revenues were up 20.4 per cent to £2.49 million (2013: £2.07 million).  Profit before tax rose 35.2 per cent to £803,785 (2013: £594,633). Cash generated stood at £436,582 (2013: £455,164 - the reduction in cash being a result of lending to franchisees). 

 

The firm has concentrated on expansion outside of central London with new offices in Salisbury, Ramsbury, Enfield and London Colney and has enjoyed what its half-year statement calls “exceptionally good opportunities in towns such as Weybridge and Guildford.”

 

Prime central London was more subdued as a strengthening pound and uncertainty surrounding the election and the mansion tax debate led to international and domestic buyers becoming more cautious. Even so, the firm’s offices in prime central London outperformed the first half of last year with transactions broadly flat at one per cent higher but sales income up by 20 per cent as a result of an improvement in market share, combined with a 20 per cent increase in rentals income.

 

Winkworth has now launched a six-person client services department, initially across 30 offices, referring applicants across the group. 

 

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