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Connells Shuts ‘Flawed’ Hybrid Estate Agency Hatched

Hatched, one of the first online estate agents, is closing with immediate effect after its owner Connells concluded the online-only/hybrid business model is “fundamentally flawed”. David Plumtree, Connells’ chief executive, said the company had thoroughly tested the hybrid model and decided it does not produce a “viable economic result”. The agency has now decided to focus on its high street operation. The property services group, which has a network of almost 600 branches nationwide, acquired its subsidiary in 2015…

Emmerdale Actor Joins Fashion Billionaire’s Property Company

Adam Thomas, a former Emmerdale actor, has secured himself a management role at Kamani Property Group, part of the Boohoo fashion empire. Thomas, who announced he was quitting Emmerdale last summer, is now working as property executive in the residential property company in Manchester. Thomas will be helping Kamani run his property empire in between acting jobs. He has been hired by entrepreneur Adam Kamani who, as well as owning an extensive portfolio of commercial and residential properties in Manchester, founded the…

Is Proptech Living Up To Its Revolutionary Promise?

Proptech companies have been creating increasing noise within the property industry as their investor-backed operations have promised to change how homes are sold, rented and managed for ever. We look at how this relatively fledgling industry is facing up the challenges and problems it set itself to overcome.

Warren Buffett Enters London Estate Agency Market Via Kay & Co Deal

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is entering London’s estate agency market through a deal with Kay & Co. Buffet’s investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, has agreed a franchise deal with the London-based luxury estate agency, under which Kay & Co will rename its three branches Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co from November. It marks the second global franchisee of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, following a deal with Berlin’s Rubina Real Estate in May. It will then seek to expand in the prime central…

ZPG’s Alex Chesterman To Step Down From CEO Role

Alex Chesterman OBE, the founder and chief executive of ZPG, has announced he will step back from day to day operations from the end of September. ZPG, owner of digital brands Zoopla, uSwitch, Money, PrimeLocation and Hometrack, was acquired in July for £2.2 billion by Silver Lake Partners, a US private equity firm specialising in technology investments. Chesterman will remain on the board of ZPG and as a significant investor. He will focus on advising the board on product, strategy and merger and acquisition…

Rightmove Could Be Booted Out Of The FTSE 100

Property portal Rightmove is in pole position to be relegated from the FTSE 100 in this week’s reshuffle of the blue chip index. Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said the portal has had a tumultuous year. The share price reached a high in May on the back of merger and acquisition activity in the sector, but this led to increased competition from the likes of Zoopla and Purplebricks. “This is likely to be the reason why the company finds itself in this vulnerable position,” Miah…

Will All Agents Soon Be Hybrid?

Just a few years ago many traditional estate agents would have brushed off their online counterparts as a joke. Even the best-known online agents struggled to sell more homes than a busy city centre branch and most consumers viewed them as an interesting but niche part of the property sales and lettings industry. A Purple patch And then came the game changer. Purplebricks launched in 2012 and, after initially struggling to gain traction, streaked ahead of the existing online operators such as Emoov and Tepilo. “While…

Foxtons Hires Star Ad Company M&C Saatchi For First Major Ad Campaign

In a move to keep their name firmly in the eyes of sellers – and in what seems like a shot across the bows of the cut price online agents – high profile London estate agency Foxtons is embarking on its first major ad. campaign. The company has hired the biggest of the big guns – M&C Accelarator, the high growth division of M&C Saatchi – to fire their message home. The theme of the on- and offline campaign is simple. Going right back to grass roots it centres around what Foxtons claim they do best – getting…

Brits Dominate Central London Property Purchases As Brexit Fears Bite

There has been a huge shift in the nationalities of property buyers in Central London, figures suggest. The research from buying agency Black Brick reveals that in the first half of 2018 two thirds of its buyers came from the UK. This is a significant increase compared with previous years, when less than half of its buyers were from the UK. Other buyers include those from West Africa (16.6%) and Saudi Arabia (16.6%). There has also been a shift in the nationalities of vendors, with 66.6% coming from Russia and the…

Countrywide Investors Livid Over Latest Fat Cat Handouts

Investors in Countrywide have expressed fury over the company’s proposed new incentive scheme, which could result in its top executives receiving a £20 million handout. According to Sky News, leading City institutions plan to oppose the new scheme which forms part of a £140 million rescue fundraising to keep the company afloat. Peter Long, Countrywide’s executive chairman, could receive stock worth well over £6 million under the Absolute Growth Plan (AGP), which would replace the estate agent’s existing long-term…

PropTech Firm Blasts Estate Agents For Overvaluing Properties To Gain Listings

A PropTech firm has claimed estate agents are deliberately overvaluing properties to gain listings, risking further damage to the sector’s reputation. Spectre, an instruction generation tool launched by Agent Software, suggested agents are reacting to challenging market conditions, lower transaction volumes and increased competition. But it warned the continued overvaluing of properties could have financial implications for consumers and may negatively affect the public’s perception of estate agents. A lack of buyer…

3 Ways Busy Estate Agents Can Get Smarter With Marketing

This article was sponsored by our partners at ZPG.  In a digitally obsessed world, it’s easy to see why many estate agents are experimenting with new ways to reach customers and market properties. But while you’re pushing the envelope, make sure you don’t neglect the proven marketing methods which have worked so well in the past. It can sometimes feel overwhelming with so many channels available to reach your customers. But the good news is that by making your existing marketing efforts more efficient, you can free…

Kenny Abramovich: Purplebricks Boss Buys Football Stadium

Purplebricks boss Kenny Bruce is cementing his status as the new Abramovich after completing a deal to buy football ground Inver Park. Larne Football Club, which is owned by multi-millionaire Bruce, has bought Inver Park for £117,500. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council listed the ground for sale in February and entered into negotiations with the club, which has been based at the grounds since 1918. Under the deal, the ground is subject to a covenant prohibiting the use of the land for anything other than sports or…

PropTech Start-Up Nested Taking Off With Robinson At The Helm

PropTech start-up Nested is on track to make a £10 million turnover this year, just two years after being launched by property entrepreneur Matt Robinson. The agency-cum-lender, whose turnover totalled £3 million in 2017, gives people the funds to buy a house while also getting them the best price for their current home. “Last year 61% of London properties were withdrawn from the market because agents consistently failed to deliver what they had promised,” Robinson told the Evening Standard. The 30-year-old,…

Foxtons Swings To Loss As London Housing Market Slows

Foxtons swung to a £2.5 million loss before tax in the first half of the year, with overall revenue falling 9% to £53 million. The estate agent, which made a £3.8 million profit a year ago, blamed declining sales on “ongoing weakness in the London sales market”. Foxtons has cut its interim dividend from 0.43p per share to zero. Foxtons’ sales revenue plunged 23% to £17.2 million in the first half, although the lettings business performed better with revenues slipping by 1% to £31.7 million. The agency said its…

Countrywide On The Brink: Shocking £100m Plea To Investors In Last Ditch Attempt At Survival

Countrywide, the UK’s biggest estate agent, is planning to ask investors for more than £100 million to help it survive the huge changes taking place in the housing market. The company, which owns the chains Hamptons and Bairstow Eves, as well as dozens of other high street estate agents, is planning a placing or rights issue to help tackle its debts and the fierce competition posed by online rivals, the Telegraph said. The funds will be used to bankroll an attempt to revive Countrywide and cut its debt burden of about…

Tej Lalvani Becomes Latest Dragon TV Star To Invest In Proptech Start Up

Air Agents, a London Airbnb management company, has signed a large investment deal with BBC Dragon and Vitabiotics chief executive Tej Lalvani. Set up in 2015 by friends Mark Hudson and Fran Milson, Air Agents manages properties on behalf of corporate clients and individual owners. The team has 650 homes on its books, but this is set to rise to 1,500 by the end of the year. The latest round of investment will help the operation expand further, with Tej Lalvani taking a 7.5% share in the company. Tej Lalvani is a…

Estate Agency Portal Triplerr Seeks £750,000 Funding Ahead Of London Launch

Triplerr, an estate agency portal that is harnessing the power of so-called “voice leads”, is seeking to raise £750,000 from investors ahead of a London launch. The digital portal, which is already operational in Dubai and New York, has set up a campaign on funding platform Seedrs to drive its expansion. The firm offers a free-to-list, consumer-facing property portal at TheMove.com, backed by a remote fleet of “super agents” who can call and qualify enquiries within five minutes. Sam Singh, founder and CEO of…

The New Blockbuster: 7,000 Estate Agents On Brink Of Collapse

More than 7,000 UK estate agents are showing signs of financial distress and are on the brink of collapse, raising fears the market could become the latest Blockbuster - the video rental chain that folded in 2013. The research by Moore Stephens, an accountancy firm, reveals another 153 estate agents have gone insolvent in the last year, up from 148 in 2017. It blamed this on the increasing pressure from online rivals. Traditional estate agents often have higher staff and property costs than online-only firms,…

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…

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,…

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,…

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…

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…

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…