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Emoov CEO: Countrywide Is On Its Knees And Should Merge With Us

Online estate agent Emoov has made a bid to merge with Countrywide, arguing that Britain’s largest estate agent is “on its knees” and needs to take action to survive. It comes after Countrywide, which owns chains including Hamptons and Gascoigne-Pees, posted its second profit warning of the year after experiencing a subdued property market and a sales pipeline significantly below that of 2017. This wiped more than £50 million off Countrywide’s stock market value. “Countrywide is on its knees. They have to do something,” said…

In With The Old: Wealthy Buyers Seeking Cut-Price Dilapidated Properties

Wealthy buyers in London are increasingly shunning luxury homes for cut-price dilapidated properties in the hopes of making a tidy profit. Buying agency Black Brick, which identified the trend, said buyers are looking to find the best possible deal on their London home, enabling them to achieve better value for money and the potential of long-term capital growth. The agency said wealthy individuals are currently reluctant to pay £4,000 to £5,000 per sq ft on a new luxurious property in prime central London. Instead, they are…

Foxtons Founder Jon Hunt Wants To Become A Hotelier

Foxtons founder Jon Hunt has revealed his latest project – a major investment into London’s hotel market. His development business Ocubis wants to erect a 145-bedroom upmarket building in trendy Shoreditch. It’s a positive sign for London’s hotel market, as Hunt is famed for calling property cycles correctly. He sold Foxtons at the top of the market for £375 million just before the credit crunch struck. According to the Evening Standard, proposals lodged with Hackney council show the Paul Street development, designed by…

Countrywide Shares Plummet As Agency Issues Yet Another Profit Warning

Shares in Countrywide, the UK’s biggest estate agent, plummeted on Monday after the company issued its fourth profit warning in just eight months. The share price tumbled by a quarter to a new low of 59p – down from more than 600p four years ago. The group, which is behind Hamptons, Bairstow Eves, Taylors and Gascoigne-Pees, has now called on shareholders to raise fresh funds to cut its debt. The beleaguered estate agent has been hit by the rise of online firms like Purplebricks, a downturn in the housing market and a failed…

Southend-On-Sea Is The UK’s Top Property Hotspot This Millennium

Southend-on-Sea is the UK’s top property hotspot in the 21st century, with average prices soaring by 287.1% since January 2000. The analysis by online estate agents HouseSimple.com reveals the Essex coastal town of Southend-On-Sea has seen faster property price increases than any other town or city outside London. Four out of five of the biggest price growth areas outside London have been in the East, with Cambridge (279.2%), Luton (276.7%) and Basildon (274.7%) all seeing increases of more than 270%. When London boroughs…

UK Estate Agent ‘Killed Wife’ In Drunken Rage Over Her Lesbian Fling

An estate agent who was taunted by his wife for having a small penis stabbed her to death in a drunken rage after she had a lesbian affair, a court heard. David Clark is accused of knifing his South African-born, 44-year-old wife Melanie Clark in the chest with a cook’s dagger before dialling 999 and confessing to killing her. Armed police were sent to their home on New Year’s Eve after a call in which Clark, 49, who denies murder, told the operator: “She f***ing did my head in,” jurors heard. The couple had been married for…

Savills Establishes Base In The Middle East

Estate agent Savills is launching a base in the Middle East after acquiring Cluttons’ business in the region. The property adviser and estate agency will take full ownership of Cluttons Middle East, which is based in Dubai and has been operating in the region for more than 40 years. Providing surveying and property advisory services for residential and commercial buildings, Cluttons will be re-branded Savills during 2018. The Cluttons team will continue to lead the business, with Steven Morgan, its chief executive, remaining…

Buying Agent Creates Zoopla Ad For Billionaire Seeking ‘London Mansion On A Hill’

A buying agent has created an advert on Zoopla for a supposed billionaire client who is seeking a mansion in London. Expensive Properties has listed an eight-bed detached house for sale in Kensington Palace Gardens, under which it has written: “Wanted similar house for billionaire. Full information available on request.” The client apparently has a budget of £200 million and wants a mansion “ideally on the high hill”. Expensive Properties specialises in off market properties, with prices ranging from £10 million to £250…

OnTheMarket Website Now Gets TRIPLE Amount Of Visitors It Did In 2017

OnTheMarket has seen an impressive three-fold increase in the number of visitors to its site since the end of 2017. Last December, the site was getting 3.35 million visits per month, but in April this soared to 9.4 million visits per month, according to statistics on SimilarWeb. It means OnTheMarket now ranks at number 187 in terms of traffic to its site, as compared to all other websites in the UK. More than half of traffic is from search, with 80% of being organic keywords as oppose to paid for. The figures provide further…

This Trendy London House Was The Most Popular Property On Zoopla Last Month

A trendy three-bedroom terraced house in London’s Stoke Newington was the most popular property for sale on Zoopla last month. Situated on Kersley Road, the property isn’t for the fainthearted as it requires substantial renovations, yet still has an eye-watering price tag of £1.2 million. The dated kitchen and bathrooms in the Victorian terraced house will be high up on the long list of refurbishments that need undertaking. But Zoopla reckons that with Stoke Newington’s train station, bars and restaurants all on the…

TV Star Agent Fredrik Eklund Selling New York Apartment For £4.7 Million

Fredrik Eklund, a real estate broker at Douglas Elliman and star of TV show Million Dollar Listing New York, is selling his apartment in New York for $6.5 million (£4.7 million). Eklund bought the apartment at 290 West Street with his husband, artist Derek Kaplan, in 2014. He announced on his Instagram that they’re seeking a new tenant for the space, which is also on the rental market for $22,500 (£16,400) per month. Eklund confirmed the move to Curbed, noting that since his family has expanded – he and Kaplan welcomed twins…

Purplebricks Finance Director Jumps Ship After Netting £1m Bonus

Purplebricks finance director Matthew Farrow has quit the agency just a few months after netting £1 million in cash from a share sell-off. Farrow has joined managed service provider Timico as its chief financial officer, with a remit to deliver on its long term objective to be the “go-to transformation partner” for UK mid-market businesses. Farrow helped grow Purplebricks from a start-up to a market cap of over £1 billion. At the end of last year, Farrow joined a number of senior Purplebricks directors in cashing in hefty…

HouseSimple Scraps Upfront Fee Option

HouseSimple has become a “no sale no fee” only estate agency, after scrapping its pay upfront option. Sellers will pay a fixed fee of £995 (including VAT), with no conveyancing tie-ins, on completion of a sale. The fee compares with the 1% to 2% commission typically charged by high street agents on sale of a property. HouseSimple previously offered customers the choice between a no sale no fee payment and paying a fee upfront. Vendors will continue to receive a visit from a local property expert, professional photography,…

Gary Hersham: How Being On BBC2 Series ‘Under Offer’ Affected My Business

Estate agents rightly or wrongly, are not held in high regard by many members of the general public. This fact, coupled with the plethora of characters that inhabit the sector potentially has the makings of television programming gold, a situation that did not go unnoticed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), who also recognized that house buying is in many instances an emotional process, with the parties directly involved having opposing objectives. I was initially approached about the program Under Offer by the…

‘China’s Amazon’ Allows Users To Click And Buy UK Properties Online

Properties in the UK will now be available for sale to prospective online buyers in China, thanks to a deal between e-commerce giant JD.com and China’s largest real estate website Juwai.com. Juwai has 2.2 million monthly users and showcases 2.8 million listings from 90 countries, but the arrangement means it can now market its offerings to nearly 300 million JD.com users. International properties in the US, Australia, Canada and the UK are now be available for sale on JD.com, alongside household items, clothes, electronics,…

US Portal Giant Zillow Makes Industry Changing Move As It Starts To Flip Homes

US property portal Zillow has announced it will start buying and selling houses for the first time later this month, in an industry game-changing move that could see the portal become a direct competitor to real estate agents. The move marks a huge change in the portal’s business model, with Zillow’s CEO Spencer Rascoff stating on multiple occasions in the past: “We sell ads, not houses”. It comes amid rising competition from companies like Opendoor, OfferPad and Redfin, who give instant offers for sellers who need their…

Government Bans Gazumping And Forces Agents To Get Professional Qualifications

The government is cracking down on the practice of gazumping and introducing new measures that aim to professionalise the estate agency industry. Estate agents will be required to hold a professional qualification and be transparent about fees for referrals to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers. The changes will also encourage the use of voluntary reservation agreements in order to stop sales from falling through and limit the practice of gazumping, where sellers accept higher offers following an agreement to sell.…

Foxtons CEO Nic Budden Paid £218,000 Bonus Despite Poor Performance

Foxtons chief executive Nic Budden was awarded a bonus of £218,000 last year, despite the estate agent reporting plunging revenues and profits and warning of a tough 2018. The upmarket estate agent paid 50-year-old Budden £914,000 in 2017, comprising salary, bonus, pension and other factors. That was down from £982,000 in 2016. News of the bonus has been criticised as it came despite a turbulent 2017 for Foxtons, in which pre-tax profits slumped 65% to £6.5 million and revenues fell to £117.6 million from £132.7 million.…

Chancellors Boss James Scott-Lee Trampled To Death By His Own Horses

James Scott-Lee, the founder of Chancellors and one of the most influential figures in the estate agency sector, died of a stroke after being run over by his horses and carriage, an inquest has been told. Scott-Lee, who had headed up Chancellors Group since the 1990s, was a very keen horse and carriage enthusiast. Aged 66, he had been on a “tremendous” seven-mile ride with his groom, Kevin Merry, and Merry’s wife Beverley. After returning to Scott-Lee’s stables at his estate in Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, the two horses…

Purplebricks To Speed Up Overseas Expansion After Axel Springer Buys £125m Stake

Online estate agent Purplebricks is set to speed up its overseas expansion after receiving a £125 million investment from Axel Springer. The German publisher and property portal owner has bought an 11.5% stake in Purplebricks, which will be used to fund a faster roll-out of the hybrid agency in the US, prepare for entry into new markets and improve its IT systems. Berlin-based Axel Springer’s investment echoes the Daily Mail’s involvement with Zoopla, and is being led by its classified advertising chief Andreas Wiele, who…

Sell Sell Sell! Investor Site ‘The Motley Fool’ Recommends Ditching Purplebricks Shares

Shares of online estate agent Purplebricks might be on the road to recovery, but this is failing to win over analysts and commentators. Popular investor site The Motley Fool has recommended selling the stock, primarily because of its valuation. The shares currently trade on 14.5 times sales and a huge 247 times 2018/19 forecast earnings. Property portal Rightmove also trades on about 15 times sales, but it has an operating profit margin of more than 70%. Purplebricks’ operating margin in the UK was 8% during the first half…

Foxtons Profits Plunge As London Housing Market Slumps

Profits at estate agent Foxtons plunged by almost two thirds last year amid a slowdown in London’s housing market. While prices in the capital have remained high, the number of transactions has dropped following a surge in buying activity in previous years. Foxtons, which operates almost entirely in London, said waning consumer confidence against a backdrop of political uncertainty drove a 65% fall in pre-tax profits in 2017 to £6.5 million. That compares with £41m of profit just two years ago. Foxtons said changes to rules…

March 17 Is The Best Day To Sell Your Home

Homeowners who want to maximise their property sale potential should list their property on 17 March. That’s according to estate agent Emoov, which found that June last year saw the largest number of residential transactions. Using research by the Post Office on the average number of days to sell a home, it then backtracked the national average of 96 days from mid-June to find the day homeowners should list to hit the completions peak. Although the highest number of transactions across the nation remains fairly consistent…

Yopa Battles Upfront Fees Criticism With No Sale, No Fee Option

Online estate agency Yopa has introduced a “no sale, no fee” option for customers selling their home through the firm. If sellers choose this option and the agency finds a buyer, Yopa will charge a flat rate fee of either £1,495 or £2,695 depending on where the customer lives. Those choosing to stick with Yopa's traditional fee structure will pay less – either £839 or £1,399, with the option to pay upfront or through a 10-month payment plan. With this option, the fee is payable regardless of whether or not the agent finds a…

Purplebricks Drags Down Star Fund Manager As Sales Dispute Rumbles On

The woes at Purplebricks are having a knock-on effect on star fund manager Neil Woodford, whose listed fund has been dragged towards the bottom of the FTSE 250 leader board. Shares in Purplebricks have slumped by 18% in the past week after questions were raised over its sales figures. Meanwhile, shares in the UK-focused Woodford Patient Capital Trust have fallen to a low of 77.2p, down from 106p last July. The trust’s portfolio includes the AA, AstraZeneca and Provident Financial, all of which took a dive last year, as well…