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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…

LSL Profits Slightly Ahead Of Expectations

LSL Property Services plc, which includes brands such as Your Move, Reeds Rains and London’s Marsh & Parsons, said its 2018 operating profit will be ‘slightly ahead’ of expectations but ’slightly behind’ last year in its latest full year trading update. LSL said that group revenue for the year ended 31 December 2018 increased by 4% reflecting overall growth in both estate agency (up 3%) and surveying (up 9%) and that financial services income was up 17% year on year. It said that in its London agency a 2% fall in…

Emoov Back In Business In Days

Emoov, the online estate agency which went into administration at the end of last year is to relaunch at the end of this month. According to an announcement on its own website Emoov will go back online in late January 2019 under the ownership and guidance of the Mashroom team and its founder, proptech entrepreneur Stepan Dobrovolskiy. Mashroom is a peer to peer lettings platform not due to be launched itself until March. The company says that it has acquired the branding and platform of Emoov. It says that customers…

Ex-Emoov Boss Suggests Online Agency Is A Moneypit

Russell Quirk former CEO of defunct online estate agency Emoov seems to suggest that online agency is a very good way to lose money. In the first of a series of video interviews with property consultant Chris Watkins Quirk says that Emoov was “bleeding cash” at the rate of £800,000 a month towards the end – to the extent that fundraising efforts left senior staff with little time to actually run the business. Quirk gives two main reasons for the seemingly insatiable cash demands of the online model. These are the need…

Housesimple Loses £13.5m But It’s Business As Normal

Online estate agency Housesimple has reported a £13.5m loss in its latest financial year but says that the company has adequate resources to continue trading for the foreseeable future. Analysis of the accounts by industry website Property Industry Eye reveals that the loss after tax for the year ending March 2018 was around £13.5m compared to £9.8m in the previous year. It adds that since the end of March 2018 the company has received £2.5m in loans plus £1.5m of investment. Housesimple’s Board comment: “The Board…

Michael Bruce: ‘I Invested Everything I Had In Purplebricks’

CEO of Purplebricks Michael Bruce has revealed that he invested everything he had to start up the business. In an interview with a US business magazine Bruce also said that other investors only came forward in force once they knew he was personally financially committed to the project. Bruce told Inc.com that ‘the gates of funding opened only after he'd gone all-in and invested everything he had. Investors liked what he invested in, but liked even more the fact that he had invested so much of his own money and clearly…

Savills Sees Potential In East London Market

Savills have expanded their market coverage in East London by buying established residential and commercial estate agency and property and land management firm Currell. Currell was established in 1990 and has offices in Islington, Clerkenwell, Hackney, Hackney Wick and Victoria Park, South Hackney. The existing Currell name will be retained for several months before being integrated into Savills. Savills say that the ‘acquisition is seen as a key strategic opportunity for expansion.’ James Sparrow, Chief Executive…

Purplebricks Revenue Soars, But There’s A But

Purplebricks has announced a 75% rise in revenues in its Interim Results for the six months ended 31 October 2018. Group revenue rose to £70.1m compared to £40.1m in H1 2018. UK revenue was up by 39% to £48.3m, a 25% rise. The company said international business now represents 31% of group revenue. It added that it has net cash of £103.1m and a UK hybrid market share of 74%. However, Purplebricks reported a group operating loss of £25.6m, a substantial rise from a £11.4m loss in the previous year. Michael Bruce,…

Purplebricks ‘Not A Genuine Disruptor’ Says Investor

Online agency Purplebricks is not likely to prove itself to be a genuine disruptor as its business model is not revolutionary enough, says an investment expert writing for an influential financial blog. Roland Head adds that there is currently not enough information to know whether the firm will hit its growth targets. Indeed, that in the near term the outlook for the firm’s stock seems to be worsening. He explains the reason for this downgrade in fortunes is that the group’s international expansion has been ramped up and…

Emoov Crowdfunding Investors May Sue …. By Crowdfunding

Investors who used crowdfunding to invest in the failed online agency Emoov are reported as considering legal action to recover their losses. The basis of any claim seems to be that the investors were misled over the financial state of the company at the time of the crowdfunding round. Earlier this year CEO Russell Quirk forecast 550% revenue growth by 2019 and that the business would return a profit by 2020-21. A flotation had also been suggested. However, it seems some investors now believe the company was running…

Purplebricks Offers Lifeline To Stranded Emoov Customers

Purplebricks may be about to offer a rescue package to the customers of failed online agency Emoov, which could even see them offered some kind of financial compensation. Speaking to his Twitter followers this morning Purplebricks’ founder and CEO Michael Bruce said: “I was very sorry to hear that @emoov has had to go into administration. Sad news for the staff and of course for customers who will be wondering what’s going on. @purplebricksUK we will do what we can to help all of these customers and ensure they're not out…