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Online Agents Market Share Steady At 7%, Analysis Says

The share of the sales market occupied by online estate agents is ‘steady at around the 7% mark’ , according to the latest Property & Homemover Report Q3 2019 from consumer intelligence company TwentyCi. The report says that online agent market share averages at around 7% for a third consecutive quarter, being around 7.3% in Q2 2019, a dip from the 7.6% in Q1 2019, followed by an increase to 7.9% in Q3. It says high street agents took a 92.1% share in the last quarter. TwentyCi comments that online agency

Countrywide Appoint New COO To Help Turnaround Strategy

The Board of Countrywide plc have announced the appointment of Bruce Marsh to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Marsh will serve as an Executive Director on the Board and report to Paul Creffield, Group Managing Director. He has previous experience at Tesco in the role of Finance Director, UK, Booker and Republic of Ireland and Kingfisher plc. Countrywide say that the appointment is an example of ‘succession planning’ which ‘demonstrates our commitment to bringing in new talent and

Purplebricks’ Pricing Model Will Change, CEO Says

The CEO of online estate agency Purplebricks has said in an interview with Sky News that the company is planning to change its pricing model. Vic Darvey said that the current fixed-fee sale-or-no-sale model of £899 or £1,399 in London will be ‘evolved’, but did not suggest what the replacement model will be. He said that several different options may be tested to see what the response from customers is. Darvey said: “We’re looking at evolving the pricing and will be in market with a series of tests and customers will

Foxtons Refresh Board, Chairman To Retire

Estate agency Foxtons Group plc has announced a number of changes to its board. The company say that Chairman Garry Watts will retire from the board at or before the AGM next May with Ian Barlow, currently senior independent director, succeeding him. Alan Giles, currently a non-executive director, will become senior independent director with a new non-executive director to be recruited to his role as chair of the audit committee. Finally, Patrick Franco, currently chief operating officer, will join the board as an

Could Leaders Romans Be Next Estate Agency Casualty?

An opinion piece in Property Industry Eye, by Paul Smith CEO of Spicerhaart, has considered whether Leaders Romans could be the next 'casualty’ in the estate agency business. The report says that as well as posting a £21.6m loss in the nine months to the end of 2017 with £148m of net liabilities, group debt totals £265m most of which has to be repaid in five years. It says that when the company’s debts are divided between its 160 branches and other income generating assets the business has ‘the daddy of all debts’.

What Happened Next To The Online Property Pioneers?

The online estate agency revolution may be less than 15 years old but it has swept all before it, eating up over £200m in investment and creating dozens of small, medium and large digital companies. But the sector has also been brutal. Less than half of the 20+ companies created since the first big ones launched during the late noughties have survived or gone on to achieve great things, scattering the founders of the rest to the online winds. So who remains and who has gone off to ‘disrupt’ elsewhere? Dealmakerz

Is Purplebricks’ Business Model Sustainable, Expert Asks

An expert investor says he believes Purplebricks' share price could be ‘grossly overvalued’, and its financial performance could be being hampered by its business model. Writing for the Motley Fool blog G.A. Chester says that Purplebricks’ share price hit a low in May but has recovered since, as investors welcomed its exit from Australia and the US. However, that while the company has ‘trumpeted’ an overall revenue growth and operating profit last year this somewhat conceals a slump in revenue and operating loss in H2.

Howsy Buys Up Urban

Property management platform Howsy has bought online property lettings site Urban, reports say. Urban was founded by Adam Male in 2008 and merged with Emoov and Tepilo in 2018. When Emoov collapsed last December Male bought Urban back from the administrators. Calum Brannan, founder and chief executive of Howsy, said of the purchase: “Both businesses bring a different set of skills on which they’ve both built a great degree of success but by combining these, we are able to create a lettings powerhouse that will

Emoov Founder Quirk Returns To Estate Agency Business

Russell Quirk, the original founder of online estate agency Emoov which collapsed last December, has returned to the estate agency business it is reported. Quirk has become an investor and director in Keller Williams’ new Market Centre for Essex, alongside cousin Anthony Quirk and Mark Readings who also have previous experience in online estate agency. Keller Williams operate a franchise style model which where franchised Market Centres work with local self employed estate agents on a commission sharing basis. Quirk

Belvoir Group Announces Strong Trading And Growth

Belvoir Group Plc, which claims to be the UK’s largest property franchise, has announced strong trading results and growth in its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2019. Financial highlights include a 48% increase in Group revenue compared to H1 2018 to £9,047,000 and an 18% increase in gross profit to £6,198,000. The company saw a 5% increase in its Management Service Fees to £4,201,000. Financial Services division revenue trebled to £3,969,000 partly as a result of the November 2018

Residently Raises £7m For Expansion

Residently, the rental agency platform which says it is on a mission to become the global renting brand, has raised £7m for business expansion. The investment has come from leading European VCs including Felix Capital, LocalGlobe and A/O PropTech, as well as existing angel investors. The funding will be used to grow Residently’s engineering and product teams, support building the rental portfolio in London and New York, and add extra services to its Living platform. Founder and CEO Tom Allason explains: “We are

Purplebricks Could Change Pricing Structure, CEO Hints

The new CEO of online estate agent Purplebricks has hinted that the company might change its upfront, fixed-fee pricing model. Vic Darvey is reportedly unhappy that Purplebricks’ pricing model has been unchanged for five years, and has suggested it may not work in parts of the country where the market is slow. Darvey has told the media: “In certain markets, in certain pockets of the country where houses aren’t moving quickly, there is a moment of hesitation from customers saying: ‘I know I can save £10,000 but

Online Estate Agents Should Have A Wealth Warning, Expert Says

Sellers who use online estate agents should be provided with a wealth warning before going ahead, so says industry expert Adam Day who founded Hatched and has experience with EasyProperty and Emoov. In a vlog post Day offers a number of thoughts on the current state of the online estate agency business model, reflecting on the way it is has changed dramatically since its original inception. He suggests that some online agents today are simply self-service platforms linking up buyers and sellers and do not, and cannot

Yopa Gets £16m Funding And New Chairman

Online estate agent Yopa has announced that it has just completed a £16m funding round. The money has been raised via its existing investors dmg ventures, Grosvenor Hill Ventures and the company’s founders. Yopa has also announced the appointment of Grenville Turner as Chairman. Turner has extensive experience in retail banking, the UK property sector and start-ups previously having been CEO of Countrywide and having had directorships in Rightmove, US realtor Realogy and Sainsbury’s Bank.  Ben Poynter CEO at Yopa

New Foxtons CFO Gets £150,000 Golden Hello

The new Chief Financial Officer of Foxtons Plc Richard Harris has been given share options currently worth £150,000. Industry publication The Negotiator says that Harris has been given the ‘golden hello’ of stock options of 300,000 ordinary shares and that based on the current share price of 51.6p this would be worth £153,000. However, Harris must wait five years before he can exercise his right to the shares. Harris assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer in May after the previous incumbent Mark Berry left by

LSL Expands Part Exchange Operation

LSL Land & New Homes, part of LSL Property Services Plc, is undertaking a major expansion of its part exchange property business, an industry website reports. Property Industry Eye says that the business is doubling staff numbers in its part exchange business and introducing a new IT system, as well as relocating to new offices, in anticipation of rising demand for part exchange and assisted move schemes. Helen Buck, LSL Executive Director Estate Agency explained: “Whilst our clients already benefit from our

Purplebricks Ditches Commisery, Will It Introduce Commission ?

Online agent Purplebricks has launched a new TV advertising campaign leading some to suspect it is planning significant changes to its pricing model. Since launch Purplebricks has vociferously promoted the fact that it uses fixed fee pricing rather than charging commission. This has been underlined most recently by its ‘Commisery’ themed TV advertising, suggesting house sellers who use commission-based agents are dissatisfied with the experience. However, the company’s newest TV advertising campaign has adopted a new

Countrywide Income & Losses Down – Blames Brexit

In its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2019 Countrywide Plc said that total income fell to £290.6m compared to £302.9m for the same period in the previous year. The company also reported that statutory losses had fallen to £37.7m for H1 2019 compared to £206.4m in H1 2018. The report said that Countrywide’s turnround strategy was beginning to show results, but that that market conditions were against it. Executive Chairman Peter Long said: “The fundamental changes we have made to our business in the

Online Agent EasyProperty Sold Off

eProp Services Group PLC, the parent company of The Guild and Fine & Country, has sold its easyProperty business to Evolve Partnership – a company which provides outsourced services to the property industry. The deal has the financial support of EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, a report says. Evolve Chief Executive David Brierley comments: “We are very excited about the acquisition and see it as a huge opportunity for the industry to engage in something different. “We are also extremely pleased to

Countrywide ‘Beyond Salvation’ Says Former Boss

The former boss of the Countrywide Plc property group says that its current board are ‘inept’ and that the business has declined beyond the point at which it can be turned round. Tweeting in response to a Sunday Times article and referring to the current Chairman Peter Long, former CEO Harry Hill said: “The fact that P Long (Sun Times today) is still in place at Cwd plc simply proves how inept his board (and major investors) are. Sadly the business is beyond salvation.” Hill, who also founded Rightmove, ran

Foxtons Losses Up, Revenue Down, More Reliant On Renting

Foxtons Group plc said that its overall revenue was down and losses rose in its interim financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2019. The company said that Group revenue declined by 3.5% to £51.1m compared to £53m in 2018 and statutory loss before tax rose to £3.2m from £2.5m. Foxtons said that sales revenue was down 10% to £15.4m (£17.2m in 2018) due to weakness in the London market and a reduction in the average selling price. However, it said that continued resilience in the lettings business, even

Purplebricks Needs To Change Its Pricing Model, Analysts Say

Purplebricks needs to change its pricing model if it is to stand a chance at achieving its target market share, a report says. The report issued by UBS to its clients upped share price forecasts for Purplebricks. It suggested that closure of the company’s Australia and US operations would benefit the company’s future performance. It said that uncertainty over Brexit and the UK economy would mean Purplebricks would miss its target of achieving 10% market share within 3-5 years, but that it would still likely achieve 7.5%