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You’re Fired! Countrywide CEO Alison Platt Quits After Profit Warning

Countrywide’s chief executive Alison Platt has quit her role just a week after the company issued its second profit warning within three months. Peter Long, the group’s newly appointed executive chairman, said Platt’s departure was a result of the company’s poor trading. He told Reuters: “We have lost our way in sales and lettings ... she (Platt) did the honourable thing and decided to step aside.” Platt had taken personal responsibility for reviving the company’s main sales and lettings business in August. It…

Investment Bankers Say: Buy Purplebricks, Sell Rightmove

The future for online estate agents like Purplebricks is looking rosy, spelling bad news for property listings site Rightmove. That’s according to investment bankers at JPMorgan Cazenove, which reduced its rating for Rightmove to “underweight” from “neutral” and cut its target price for the stock. In contrast, the bank gave Purplebricks an “overweight” rating and a price target of 733p – an impressive increase of 71% from its share price of 428p on Tuesday. JPM said Purplebricks’ financials are impressive. It…

Grab A Bargain: £1bn Knocked Off Prices In London’s Property Hotspots

Sellers have slashed a total of £1 billion off the asking prices of homes for sale in London’s prime property hotspots. An analysis from buying agents Garrington Property Finders, which looked at London’s 52 most desirable postcode districts, found the average property is listed at 9% below its original price, equating to an average price cut of £223,000. The analysis reveals the discounts are greatest in the most expensive areas. In the elite enclave of St James’s and Victoria, prices have been cut by an average of…

London Agents Use ‘Spot The Ball’ Competition To Sell Knightsbridge Apartment

An agent in London has come up with a novel way of matching wannabe homeowners with properties: a “spot the ball” competition. Your Laddr, which offers houses as competition prizes, is offering a £3.2 million Knightsbridge home and a £56,000 car to the winner of its guessing game. The entry fee is just £10 plus a 25p booking fee. To win the three-bedroom property on Walton Street – which comes fully furnished – entrants must pick a spot on a photo of a cricket player making a catch. The ball has been edited out of the…

Jamie Gunning: My Top 5 Property Predictions For 2018

2017 was an exciting year for several reasons, and the UK’s property market wasn’t immune to the buzz. While many in my sector might be hoping for a slightly quieter one this year, I think 2018 will be another dynamic period, with decisive shifts in favour of several trends. Here are my top 5 predictions: Turnkey triumphant Last year’s Prime London market saw buyers who were really on the hunt for the best possible product, this tendency will only strengthen in 2018. Whether looking for a pied-a-terre or a seven-storey…

HouseSimple Secures £20m Funding To ‘Challenge Purplebricks’

HouseSimple.com, the UK’s second largest online estate agency, has secured £20 million in growth capital as part of its goal to “challenge Purplebricks as the UK’s leading online estate agency”. The funding round was led by existing investors Toscafund Asset Management and Freston Ventures, the private investment vehicle of Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone and his business partner Roger Taylor. Several high net worth individuals also participated. HouseSimple has listed more properties…

Mega-Mansions Among 10 Most Viewed Rightmove Properties of 2017

Economic uncertainty and squeezed household budgets haven’t put Londoners off daydreaming about property, judging by the mega-mansions that have made it into Rightmove’s top 10 most viewed properties. The most viewed home for sale in London in 2017 was a 10-bedroom mega-mansion with basement cinema, 1,250-bottle temperature-controlled wine vault, private spa and leisure centre. It is unlikely most viewers would be able afford it, as the price tag is a huge £29.95 million. The 12,000 sq ft home, on Upper…

Has It Come To This? Croydon Agent Dresses As Bear In Marketing Pictures

2017 hasn't exactly been a walk in the park for most agents across the UK, but one agent has resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to shift a 2 bedroom apartment in Croydon. In a bizarre strategy, Benson & Partners have uploaded a Rightmove listing that includes multiple pictures of an orange bear sauntering around the property in a number of cringeworthy situations. Enough talking, here are the pics in their full glory: Right. DealMakerz also found an older listing in which the bear…

Why Agents Must Adapt Their Business Model To The Changing Market

This article was sponsored by our partners at ZPG.  Four major trends were highlighted in ZPG’s State of the Nation report as having a significant role in reshaping the property market and threatening the traditional high street agent’s business model: changing consumer expectations the rise in online agents the shifting economic outlook and government regulation Changing consumer expectations Increasingly consumers are seeking transparency and speed in their property transactions, with 34% of consumers…

Millionaire Property Tycoon’s Ban On ‘Coloured’ Tenants Due To ‘Curry Smell’ Is Unlawful

One of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlords, Fergus Wilson, has been told that his policy to “not take Asian, Pakistani and Indian people generally” as tenants is unlawful. Wilson, 69, said that the reason behind his openly racist request was due to the cost of removing the smell of curry at the end of their tenancy. “The valuation drops by £50,000 if it smells of curry” However, Maidstone County Court ruled that his bizarre strategy was illegal and that he must drop the policy. Judge Richard Polden said,…

Purplebricks’ Kenny Bruce The New Abramovich As He Eyes Investment In Local Football Team

Purplebricks’ co-founder Kenny Bruce has outlined plans to invest a substantial amount of money in his local football team, Larne Football Club in Northern Ireland. The property entrepreneur took part in an engagement session with supporters in which he described his proposals to invest in both the team and Inver Park, where the club plays its home matches. Bruce, formerly a resident of Larne, received overwhelming support for his proposals at Larne FC’s EGM. The plans involve a substantial investment, with a new…

Estate Agent Tells Millennials To Quit Coffees To Save A House Deposit

Millennials who are struggling to buy a property in London should stop splurging on takeaways, sandwiches and nights out, an estate agent has advised. Strutt & Parker claimed millennial couples could save enough for a deposit in five years by giving up six “luxuries”. Potential homeowners could accumulate £64,000 within half a decade by making “relatively small changes” to their lifestyles, it said. The calculations suggest giving up a night out once a week could save more than £6,000 a year and cutting out…

ZPG Crushing OnTheMarket As They Win Back 1,000 Agency Branches

ZPG, owner of Zoopla and PrimeLocation, claimed this week that the number of estate agency branches that left to join OnTheMarket (OTM) in 2015 but have subsequently abandoned OTM to re-join ZPG has now reached over 1,000 Recent wins for the portal giant include a Martin & Co branch, 6 Hurford Salvi Carr branches in London and 5 Andrew Milsom branches covering the Thames Valley and Chiltern Hills. In addition, the firm has also recently signed long term listing agreements with the UK’s two largest agency groups,…

London Airbnb Landlord Makes £11.9m Renting 881 Properties

An Airbnb landlord in London brought in £11.9 million in a single year by renting out 881 properties in the capital, research shows. It is the highest revenue made by any owner in the world over the past 12 months. The analysis reveals how Airbnb has shifted from community-based flat sharing to lucrative property management. In second place was a landlord in the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, who made £11.8 million renting 504 properties over the last year. Millions of pounds were also earned by…

Mainstream Press Line Up To Criticise High Street Estate Agents

The mainstream press have targeted estate agents in the past week, with The Times and The Spectator publishing articles aimed directed at the nerve centre of the UK estate agency industry. Tory rag ‘The Spectator’ said, “If there was ever an industry crying out to be disrupted, it was estate agency…the entire estate-agency sector is a shrinking market…a new generation of online pretenders seems to be breaking through — while established agencies are beginning to look sickly.” However, Spectator journalist Ross Clark…

Letting Agents To Be Banned From Charging Tenants Upfront Fees

Letting fees for tenants in the private rented sector in England have been banned under a draft bill introduced to Parliament. The Government said the move will help to improve transparency, affordability and competition in the private rental market, and prevent agents from double charging both tenants and landlords for the same services. Those who ignore the rules will be handed a fine of up to £5,000, while subsequent breaches could result in criminal prosecution or up to £30,000 in fines. The ban, which forms…

How Can Agents Maximise Value To Customers?

This article was sponsored by our partners at ZPG.  The current market for estate and letting agents is challenging. An uncertain economic climate along with the rise of online agencies, means that high street agents are increasingly looking at ways in which they can differentiate themselves to gain an advantage over the competition. To understand consumer sentiment, confidence in the property market and their needs from agents, ZPG recently commissioned and presented independent State of the Property Nation…

Russian Property Buyers: 7 Things You Wanted To Know But Were Too Afraid To Ask

Most DMZ'ers will hear 'Russian Buyers' and instantly think: money, glamour and super prime property. But where are these elusive buyers at the moment? Are they put off by Brexit or do they see it as an opportunity, where is their current favourite hotspot in London and how do developers gain access to these exclusive clientele? We spoke to the super well connected Katya Zenkovich, Head of the Russian Desk at Knight Frank and she revealed all.. What are Russian buyers thoughts about London property right now? I…

Agency CEO James Bailey: Investors Are Returning To Prime Central London

Interpreting micro-trends in the fast-moving London property market is a notoriously inexact science, yet the latest LonRes sales figures for Belgravia and Knightsbridge are encouraging. Almost all the key indicators are moving in the right direction. The average achieved price July to September is up 0.6 per cent on a year ago – a modest rise, certainly, but in the wider context, a significant sign of returning confidence. Average flat prices in the area have risen by 4.5 per cent in the past five years, with buyers…

19 Year-Old Entrepreneur Builds £12m Estate Agent In 12 Months

A 19 year-old entrepreneur has managed to create an online estate agent valued at £12 million in the space of just 12 months. Akshay Ruparelia, from Harrow in North East London, launched Doorsteps.co.uk with the aim of providing good customer service at a fair price to people who are selling their homes. The company charges commission of just £99, considerably lower than traditional estate agents. The site went live just over a year ago and in a recent funding round it was valued at £12 million. …

Richard White: The Risky Business Of PropTech Hype

“Proptech” is booming across the UK and the rental sector is seeing an explosion of companies offering new business tools to lettings agents. From CRM systems to floor plan apps, from data analysis to startups that help renters and agents arrange viewings, the sheer number of companies pitching for agents’ business in the sector is daunting. Hundreds of apps are now competing for the attention of just 11,000 estate agencies. For agents who want to build a profitable dynamic business, it is a confusing time. How…

PropTech CEO Calls Purplebricks Boss Michael Bruce A ‘Del-Boy Conman’

Easymatch founder and Chair of CIELA (The Charter For Independent Estate & Letting Agents), Charlie Wright, is never one to mince his words, but he pushed the boat out this week creating a blog post entitled “Purplebricks founder and CEO Michael Bruce is a liar and a conman”. On the back of news that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled Purplebricks ‘commisery’ TV adverts as misleading, Wright doesn’t pull any punches, claiming the online agent is “tricking vulnerable people into parting with money they…

Matthew Fine: Can Estate Agents Really ‘Work From Home’?

Estate Agency is changing, whether we like it or not. Having been an agent for the last 35 odd years I have seen many changes from within that have made our lives easier, from computers to digital photography and a lot more. Proptech, a current buzzword, is very much alive and kicking with new innovations daily but I am not sure 90% of them are worthwhile or really help, you can even pay another company to show prospective buyers/tenants around a property! Ultimately, they are reducing the overall commission an agent…

Why PropTech Doesn’t Matter Anymore – 6 Things You Must Know About Real Estate Innovation

Proptech - it's a word that is frequently used in the property industry, with London staking it's claim to be one of the most innovative Proptech centres in the world. Executive Search firm Holtby Turner have created a mammoth report on how real estate will change by 2027, sourcing opinion from Proptech impresario's like DealMakerz contributor James Dearsley, entrepreneur Faisal Butt and digital strategist Anthony Slumbers. The report is extremely interesting (we haven't been paid to say that) and most definitely worth…

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…