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Trevor Abrahmsohn: Extreme Deal Closing With Mayfair Billionaires

My vendor client, Mr. Instone Bloomfield, was a wealthy banker with a swanky office in Berkeley Square and had instructed Glentree to sell his expensive, trophy mansion, in St John’s Wood, namely Mermaid House, for a price which in today's money would be £75million. This was the original site of the Mermaid Theatre founded by the late Sir Bernard Miles, which is now relocated at Puddle Dock, Blackfriars. It was a difficult property market at the time and the property had been for sale for at least two years without a…

Major Global Investor Buys 5.6% Stake In Countrywide

Beleaguered estate agent Countrywide have announced that Investec Asset Management has purchased a 5.6% share in the company, having not held a stake in the company previously. Snapping up a total of 13.3 million shares, Investec appear to have already made a small profit – they bought the shares at approximately 112 pence and at time of writing the stock stands at 116.50 pence per share. That would provide the investor with a profit in the hundreds of thousands already, with their total ownership coming in over £15…

Hong Kong Agent: Limehouse Is Hugely Popular For Asian Property Investors

Our recent development in Copenhagen Wharf, Limehouse is proving extremely attractive for Asian buyers. The apartments offer exceptional exchange rate value for Hong Kong investors, and in shifting buyers' away from the real estate market in central London, also exposes them to one of the fastest developing parts of the city. There are a number of factors that act as a draw to the often overlooked area of Limehouse: Firstly, Limehouse sits within the corporate catchment area - busy business districts such as…

Foxtons founder wins battle to build mega basement on Billionaire’s Row

Foxtons founder Jon Hunt has been granted permission to build a mega basement at his mansion in Kensington to house his collection of classic cars. The billionaire has been embroiled in a 10-year battle to extend his house in Kensington Palace Gardens, known colloquially as Billionaires’ Row. Hunt and his wife Lois bought the eight-bedroom pad for £15.75 million in 2005. The extension will increase its value to an estimated £100 million. Hunt’s plans to create an “iceberg” basement were approved twice by the…

Zoopla Vs Rightmove – The 7 Charts You Need To See

Friend of DealMakerz, tech entrepreneur and all-round portal expert Mike DelPrete has released his 2017 Global Real Estate Portal Report. It's fantastic, but at 121 slides long might be too long for some DMZ readers, so we've summarised the 7 most important and interesting points from the UK portals and provided our take on what this means for the industry Rightmove is the most profitable property portal in the world sorted by profit margin. Interesting to note that Rightmove isn't investing more in the company…

First Flat Using Digital Currency Sells For 10 Million Scotcoins

Businessman Peter McGowan has purchased a two bedroom flat in Glasgow for 10 million Scotcoins or £60,000. He bought the flat from his friend and business colleague David Low, who owns Scotcoin's intellectual property.  The pair first met more than 20 years ago when Low, the prime mover in Fergus McCann’s takeover of Celtic football club, fronted a Celtic roadshow in Corby. "I was preaching the gospel according to Fergus," Low said dryly. “It’s something than didn’t cost a lot of money. It’s a long-term punt,” he…

Chelsea estate agent offers his Porsche on instagram for £20

Chelsea estate agent Ed Bezzant — @edbezzant on Instagram — is looking to sell his pride and joy to finance his wedding but is using an innovative tactic to do so. A Director at South Kesington based boutique Beaney Pearce, Bezzant stated on Instagram: "Selling my Porsche for £20 - I am selling 2500 raffle tickets via DM the raffle will take place once all 2500 are sold and I will put every single entry in to an instagram live draw - this is 100% genuine and someone will be signed over the papers to the car if they are…

Online Agent Releases A Map Of Where To Buy If North Korea Dropped A Nuclear Bomb On Britain

Everyone makes mistakes. But a press release from hybrid agent eMoov entitled 'Options for Homebuyers Outside of a Nuclear Impact Zone' surely takes the biscuit. Was this a piss take; a late April fool that DealMakerz wasn't party to? Apparently not - they were serious. In what was, we assume, meant to be a tongue-in-cheek take on the current growing tensions between the US and North Korea, eMoov used the website Nukemap to distinguish areas that would be affected by a nuclear bombing campaign on UK cities.…

The Secret Agent: Purplebricks, OnTheMarket IPO & the Guild – EasyProperty Merger

The Secret Agent is a senior UK estate agent who provides an opinionated, frank and tongue-in-cheek take on recent market news. Disclaimer: The Secret Agent's views do not reflect that of DealMakerz or our editors. No conclusions from Purplebricks BBC Watchdog appearance.  Did anyone else think Purplebricks appearance on Watchdog led to more questions than answers? I'm interested to know what they define as 'local'. Is that 5, 10, 15, 30 or even 50 miles away? Also, they need to get their facts straight - the…

Golden Age of Portals: Rightmove Profits Soar As Estate Agents Profits Tank

The UK’s largest property portal Rightmove has announced a hefty 8.5% rise in H1 profits due to increased advertisement sales to estate agents. Revenues reached a healthy £119.5 million, giving the portal giant a monthly profit of around £20 million and no doubt making newly promoted CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson a very happy man. News of the chunky profit increase for Rightmove comes hot off the heels of miserable financial results from some of the UK’s largest and most influential estate agents. Foxtons announced that…

Foxtons and Countrywide profits fall due to sluggish property market

Foxtons and Countrywide have reported big falls in profits as they continue to be dogged by the sluggish property market. London-based Foxtons posted a 64pc fall in profits, while Countrywide, the UK's biggest estate agent, recorded a 98pc collapse in pre-tax profits in the first half of the year. Both companies' shares slumped in early trading, with Foxtons down 5.3pc and Countrywide, which owns brands such as Hamptons, down 9.7pc to a record low. Once known for its pioneering coffee shop-style outlets and fleet of…

‘Murder Island’ For Sale: £325,000 Massive 29-Acre Plot Including House

A notorious Scottish island which became famous for an appalling murder case in the 1960’s has been put on the market for just £325,000. The normally peaceful ‘Little Ross Island’ was home to the gruesome murder of Lighthouse keeper Hugh Clarke by Robert Dickson, another Lighthouse keeper stationed on the island. David Corrie, senior associate at property firm Galbraith said Little Ross offers “fantastic development potential…with a bit of TLC, the properties on the island could be turned into something truly…

TV Property Personality Kirstie Allsopp Has Twitter Meltdown

Property TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp had a Twitter meltdown this week following a dispute with British homeowners on the trivial subject of where they place their washing machines. The debate started harmlessly enough after Allsopp replied to a tweet stating, “it is disgusting - my life’s work is in part dedicated to getting washing machines out of the kitchen.” It quickly spiralled out of control with Allsopp publicly calling her critics a “bunch of total f*ckwits” and announcing she would be quitting Twitter.…

“Estate Agents Are Fat & Lazy” – Outspoken Property Expert Slams Modern Agents

Property Guru Henry Pryor launched a scathing attack on modern estate agents ‘list and leave’ approach. The high-end buying agent claims that the marketing incompetence of estate agents is pushing buyers to look at alternative arenas to sell their property, including online agents, Facebook, eBay and Gumtree. Holding nothing back, the self-proclaimed darling of BBC property commentary said “too many estate agents have forgotten how to sell, having spent years just uploading adverts onto Zoopla they’ve become fat…

Benjamin Willmore: The Battle of Britain (Online vs The High Street)

As online agents appear left right and centre, is this the end of the High-Street agents? Don’t get me wrong, I do love the online idea, it has only proven to show how important Estate Agents are. Their greatest victory so far? Waking a sleeping giant - the Estate Agency industry. The onliners have been launching their attack on estate agents for some years, long before Perturbed Bricks, sorry typo Purplebricks, started dropping large media campaigns, blitzing us with the whole commissary stories, hitting every…

Estate agents pull houses from market as London prices plummet by 9%

Property in some of London’s prime areas is selling 9.1 per cent lower than asking price, forcing some vendors to take properties off the market rather than bowing to price reduction. Figures released by property data tracker LonRes showed that 45 per cent of properties were reduced in price before sales in the first quarter of this year.  Although up 1.4 per cent annually, average house prices in Greater London fell 0.1 per cent month-on-month in April. Prices decreased by £750 to £610,418, according to the latest…

Estate Agents: The Front Line In The War On Terror and Crime?

This June sees the introduction of the 4th Money Laundering Directive, with estate agents singled out for increasingly stringent money laundering and terrorist financing vetting. Agents have been required to comply with Money Laundering Regulations for several years, but these have become tighter and more onerous as time progresses with no sign of any let up. Estate agents are defined as those who are involved in the sale and purchase of land and property. This is a bit of an anomaly (no lettings?) and was…

New Online Estate Agent Launches Charging Just £99 to List A Property

A new online agency has launched offering a rock-bottom fee of just £99 including VAT to sell or let a property. London based 99Home are offering sellers a listing on Zoopla, Gumtree Pro and their own website for the knockdown price, however sellers are expected to take their own property photo's and, controversially, value their own home. The new business shares an address with established North London agents, Property Hub, which is run by Vijay Vashisht and is reported to be the online arm of the agency. Their…

First Ever e-Signature Used for Exchange of Contracts of Residential Property

In the click of a mouse the property industry may be experiencing the beginning of yet another online disruptive business. On Thursday 6 April at 15.59pm an e-signature was used for the first time to sign the contract for both the sale and purchase element of a residential transaction. Lawyers for both the buyer and seller uploaded the agreed contract to electronic signing system Bonafidee, which was then sent to the vendor and purchaser for them to sign electronically. The transaction was overseen was Convey Law,…

Online Agent easyProperty Made A Staggering £11 Million Loss In 2016

easyJet, easyCar and easyGym all made significant inroads into their respective industries, but it appears as if sister company easyProperty is not having such a smooth ride. According to its filings, the online agent had a full year loss totalling £11.4 million in 2016, having lost £6.8 million the year before. DMZ investigates whether the emerging agent can turn things around and plug the crushing £18 million losses. The company was launched in 2014 by larger-than-life easyGroup Chairman, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou,…

Countrywide MD Jumps Ship To Purplebricks As Profits Nosedive

Lee Wainwright, a senior Managing Director for Countrywide has jumped ship and moved to controversial hybrid agent Purplebricks as their new Operations Director. Wainwright was a Countrywide veteran, spending his entire 27-year career at the troubled agency. A spokesperson for Purplebricks said, "We are pleased to confirm that Lee Wainwright has joined our business as operations director. He’s a strong addition to our management team and has the drive, commitment and enthusiasm to help us grow our brand and offer our…

Brucey Bonus! £17 Million Payday For Purplebricks Founders

Purplebricks brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce have sold large chunks of their shares in the company, netting them an eye-watering £17 million in cash. They joined a number of senior directors in cashing in hefty chunks of their ownership, including the hybrid agency's Finance Director, Marketing Director and Chief Technology Officer. Head honcho Michael Bruce cashed in the most selling 3.6 million shares, well, specifically his wife cashed in as the shares were held in Isabel Bruce's name. As one of the founder's of…

Foxtons Profits Hit An All Time Low

London property markets have hit Foxtons hard as their pre tax profits have halved to £18.8 million in 2016. Foxtons have been hit by an “unprecedented sequence of events” and said 2017 was likely to be worse still. In a year which has seen Brexit and also rising stamp duty on top end properties led to revenues from sales falling 31% to £55.5 million. Foxtons Chief Exec Nic Budden said the capital’s market “was severely impacted by an unprecedented sequence of events”, adding: “We expect trading conditions to remain…

Estate Agent Body Claims “11 buyers now chasing each property for sale” in the UK

An industry body has claimed there has been a severe widening of the divide between prospective home buyers registered at estate agents and the number of properties for sale in the UK. The research claims that there are now a whopping 11 buyers for every property for sale. Research by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) suggests Estate Agent branches in the UK now have an average of 425 prospective buyers registered, a 10% uptick on the previous months figure. Meanwhile, supply is progressively becoming…

Are The Boom Times Back? Average London Property Professionals Salary Jumps 7% to £61k

Property professionals, including surveyors, planners and architects, have experienced a chunky pay rise over the past year with an increase of 7.2% on average. That figure exactly matches the rise in house price in 2016, as measured by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, the survey of 8,000 people by RICS found that Estate Agents had a more difficult year – their pay actually fell by a whopping 21%. Managing Director for the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), Mark Hayward, wasn’t surprised by…