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Agency Franchise Fails To Sell, Closes Down

Estate and lettings agency franchise opportunity HomeExperts has ceased trading, it is reported by an industry website. HomeXperts, which has up to 40 franchised branch operations, has apparently been up for sale itself for some time. The report also claims it has been in dispute with some of its own franchisees. Founder Sussanne Chambers told Property Industry Eye: “We recently tried to sell the HomeXperts franchise and despite initial interest from market leading property franchise brands, due to difficult market

Property Franchise Group Revenue Up, Even EweMove In Profit

In its final results for the year ended 31 December 2018 The Property Franchise Group PLC said that group revenue increased 11% over the year to reach £11.2m while profit before tax held steady at £4.3m. It added that online brand EweMove grew market share and delivered a pre-tax profit of £0.4m. The Property Franchise Group PLC is the holding company of six estate and letting agency brands – Martin & Co, EweMove, Whitegates, Ellis & Co, CJ Hole and Parkers – with 375 branches nationally. Ian Wilson, CEO,

Purplebricks US And Oz Future Questionable

Purplebricks may have to abandon its Australian and US arms and focus on its UK business, a report from Australia quoting an investment bank says. In substantially reducing its share price target for Purplebricks from 470p to 80p Berenberg said: “Having flown too close to the sun, with operations in five countries and cash burn of circa £7m ($12.9m) a month, we believe the group will be forced to seek additional equity at a significant discount or a doubtless expensive debt facility; or to abandon the Australian and US

Foxtons, Chancellors and Hamptons Are Serial Overvaluers, Claims

Some estate agency chains are overvaluing properties to mislead sellers into paying higher rates of commission, a report in The Times claims. The newspaper says that in an analysis of 200,000 Zoopla listings chains are overvaluing properties by up to a fifth. It said that the biggest agents and those with the highest commissions are overvaluing more, and referred to Foxtons, Chancellors and Hamptons International. The Times offers an example: ‘Nearly two thirds of homes listed by Foxtons, the biggest agent in

Keller Williams Appoints New Market Centre Director, Plans Expansion

Keller Williams, which claims to be the world’s largest estate agency, has appointed Nicky Stevenson as Market Centre Director at its Mayfair hub. Stevenson has extensive property industry experience, including hands-on at a number of lettings agents including Chesterton Humberts, a directorship at The Property Academy and business growth and coaching experience. The company has also said that it is planning to open four more of its estate agency ‘market centres’ across the UK this year. Keller Williams is a

Belvoir Records Record Results, Confident For Future

Belvoir Lettings PLC have grown both revenue and profits according to its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2018. The company reported a 21% increase in group revenue to £13.7m compared to the previous year, and a 40% increase in profit before tax to £5.5m. Gross profit ratio was 71% down to lettings, 18% down to sales and 11% down to financial services and the results represented the 22nd uninterrupted year of profit growth, the company said. Belvoir has also grown its office network from 300 to 365

Marsh and Parsons Continues Branch Expansion

London estate and letting agent Marsh & Parsons – part of LSL Property Services Plc – has opened another new branch, an industry website reports. The new branch at Streatham Hill comes hot on the heels of the launch of Marsh & Parsons new branch in Willesden Green just two weeks ago. The Willesden Green branch is aiming to make inroads into the local market by offering zero commission on sales and lettings until June and the Streatham branch offers a similar incentive. Patrick Littlemore, Chief Executive

Times Accuses Agents Of Rigging Reviews

A report in The Times has accused Purplebricks and Foxtons of ‘gaming’ the Trustpilot review system. The report names estate agents as well as banks in an investigation which examines the impartiality of Trustpilot reviews. It questions the way in which companies are able to solicit reviews from customers and select which reviews to display on their own websites and Facebook pages – and quickly move from having a number of negative reviews to many positive reviews in a short period of time. It points out that these

The Alan Partridge Of Agents: A Deep Dive Into The Future Of Foxtons

In a world where perception frequently trumps reality, Foxtons remains a potent symbol of aggressive and successful estate agency - even if its bottom line suggests otherwise. Only this month Alan Partridge, the parody TV character now exemplifying Brexit British bluster, demanded that his fictional show be beefed up to become “10% more Foxtons.” But the facts behind the bravado suggest Foxtons could be facing an existential crisis, irrespective of its bullish image. It suffered pre-tax losses of £17.2m in 2018 -

Savills Grows Revenue, Profits, But Future Uncertain

Savills plc said that both its group revenue and underlying profit were up in its preliminary results for the full year ended 31 December 2018. The company said that group revenue rose 10% to reach £1.76bn and underlying profit rose 2% to £143.7m. Mark Ridley, Group Chief Executive, said: "Savills delivered both revenue and underlying profit growth in 2018, driven by a robust second half of the year. In addition to maintaining or growing our share of transactional markets, the performance of our less

Purplebricks, Yopa And The Rest Still Have Only 5% Market Share

The online agents’ share of the estate agency market is still less than 5%, a recent analysis of listings claims. Statistics from The Advisory, an independent advisory service for sellers, for the two weeks to March 8 report that the largest online agent Purplebricks took on the most new listings at 3,011, followed by Housesimple with 485 and Yopa with 453. It said that total market share for the top ten largest online agents was 4.77% and that Purplebricks - although still by far the largest player - and Yopa both lost

Foxtons’ Rafferty Hired To Help Improve Hunters

Hunters Property Plc, which how has a 200 branch estate agency network, have appointed Dan Rafferty as their new Chief Operating Officer. Rafferty’s past CV includes 14 years at Foxtons as their Chief Information Officer. Rafferty's role, so say Hunters, will be ‘overall responsibility for the execution of a programme to help improve the productivity and efficiency of the company's highly commended customer service offering and its digital marketing strategy.’ Glynis Frew, Chief Executive Officer at Hunters, says:

LSL Revenue Slightly Up, Profits Way Down

In its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2018 LSL Property Services Plc announced a rise in group revenue to £324.6m, up 4% from 2017 – but said that pre tax profits had fallen by 42% compared to the previous year to reach £23.1m. The group, whose brands include Reeds Rains, Your Move and Marsh & Parsons said that sales revenue was down 9% due to challenging market conditions. However, lettings revenue rose 4%, surveying revenue rose 9% and financial services income rose a healthy 17%. Significantly…

Foxtons Losing Money But Confident For Long Term

In their Final Results for the year ending 31 December 2018 Foxtons Group plc reported a loss of £17.2m, compared to a profit of £6.5m for the previous year. The company said that the loss was due to a 15% fall in sales revenue, although lettings revenue rose by 1%. Nic Budden, CEO, said: "Our performance in 2018 was impacted by a further deterioration in the sales market, with transaction levels falling for another year from their already low levels. We are pleased with the lettings business and the investment we made…

Interview: The ‘Super Agent’ Eyeing London’s £10m+ Homes

The London prime property market is one of the world’s strangest, by anyone’s measure. Compared to the overall housing market in the UK, it represents just a handful of sales every year and yet it garners headlines and attention around the world from the Financial Times to the New York Times. Its size is dwarfed by its reputation; according to an index released this week by property investment firm London Central Portfolio (LCP), just 3,558 homes were bought within the capital’s main prime central districts over the past…

Trevor Abrahmsohn: The Importance of Networking in the Property Industry

Despite appearances to the contrary, I am incorrigibly anti-social... Compulsive diary-fillers view blank pages in their social calendar with horror, while for me this is liberation from the prison of small-talk. In fact, a month devoid of lunch or dinner engagements would have me dancing with euphoria. However, I have to admit that breaking bread with a client enhances the relationship beyond compare. One of the most grievous aspects of today’s working life is that we communicate mostly by emails and phone calls.…

Viewber Will Take The High Street In 2019

2019 will be the year that pay as you go viewings and inspection service Viewber starts to make an impact with High Street sales and letting agents – so says the company’s founder and chief executive Ed Mead. In a recent interview with Property Wire Mead says: “Viewber is expanding rapidly and we feel the High Street, lettings and sales, is finally recognising that as a dip in dip out pay as you go service Viewber can really produce a return on investment ROI, and can see its uses, so I see this year as the year of High…

Purplebricks Reduces Revenue Estimates, Two Execs To Go

In its latest Trading Upate Purplebricks Group Plc has revised its revenue guidance downwards and announced the departure of two key executives. Purplebricks has previously forecast revenue of £165-175m for the 2018/19 financial year. However, the latest update said that the Board believes revenue will now be in the £130-140m range. The update said revenue was likely to fall short of expectations in the US and Australia, while the Canada business was ‘on track’ and revenue growth of 15-20% in the UK was expected…

Love2Move Launches ‘Massive UK Expansion’

Hybrid estate agency platform Love2move is planning what it calls ‘massive UK expansion’ with the launch of a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Valuing itself at £1.25m after two years trading the platform created by Preston, Lancashire, based high street agents MovingWorks is looking to raise £120,000 in equity funding. It says that the fundraise will allow it to move swiftly to grow its presence nationally from its current 21 agent network. CEO Georgina Cox explains why she believes the Love2move business model is…

Countrywide Is Resilient But Cautious

Countrywide Plc says that it returned a resilient performance in a challenging market in 2018 and warns that it is cautious about prospects for 2019. In its latest trading statement the company said that total group income fell to £627m in 2018 from £672m in 2017 and that sales and letting income fell to £329m from £361m. It added that strong performance in lettings offset a decline in sales, although it did not quote detailed figures to support this. Countrywide said that significant progress had been made on…

LSL Announces Restructuring, Branch Closures

LSL Property Services Plc, whose brands include Reeds Rains, Your Move and Marsh & Parsons, have today announced a major restructuring programme which will see 124 branches disappear. The company said that as well as branch closures and mergers there will be restructuring to create larger ‘keystone’ branches in core locations. The ambition for these keystone branches is to create a platform that will benefit from their larger scale. The restructuring will also mean more branches will be operated on a franchise basis.…

It’s Tough For Foxtons

Foxtons Group plc says that it is enduring one of the toughest sales markets ever in London, according to its latest Trading Update. The company said the Group's performance for the year ending 31 December was in line with the Board's expectations. However, total group revenue for 2018 was circa £111m, down from £118m in 2017. Revenue was particularly affected by a sharp drop in sales revenue to circa £36m compared to £43m the year before. Lettings revenue softened the blow somewhat as it rose £1m compared to 2017 to…

Purplebricks Are Plumbers, CEO Says

The founder and CEO of US real estate brokerage The Agency, Mauricio Umansky, has claimed that Purplebricks' agents are the plumbers of the real estate world. Umansky made what appears to be a disparaging comment – in relation to Purplebricks' US operation – in a discussion with Eric Eckardt, Purplebricks' US CEO, at a panel discussion in New York this week. Umansky appeared to be suggesting that discount or fixed fee estate agency brokerages can’t hope to meet customer expectations. He is reported as saying: “If you…

Yopa Losing Money, May Need More Investor Cash

Yopa Property Limited reported losses of £32.25m compared to £14.25m for the previous year, according to its latest annual report and financial statement filed recently. The report, for the year ended 31 December 2017, added that the company had a cash balance of around £12.5m, net assets of around £14m and net current assets of around £12.4m. The directors commented: ‘As the Company is still in an early growth phase, it is currently loss making. The Company has historically relied upon capital contributions by it…

Purplebricks’ Share Price An ‘Investment Trap’ Says Reporter

Online agent Purplebricks is potentially one of the biggest ‘investment traps’ in increasingly tough times for the global economy, so says a contributor to an influential investment blog. Royston Wild, a financial reporter specialising in the stocks, forex and commodity markets writing for The Motley Fool, says that although generous lending conditions are supporting first time buyers, toughening economic conditions alongside Brexit are harming the wider housing market. He suggests that, although the company has long term…