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Agency says interest rate and election jitters will hurt market  20 Oct 14

Strutt & Parker says the political uncertainty over the upcoming election is likely to sharply curb market activity next year - although there will still be some price growth. The agency says prices will rise by an average of five per cent across the UK and around three per cent in prime central London.   That is actually more optimistic than some other agencies which have previewed next year’s market. But even so, Strutts’ forecasts are a stark contrast to 2010 and 2011 when prime London prices surged by over 13 per cent year-on-year.   In addition to election jitters, Strutts says the prospect of interest rate rises and the continuing effects of the Mortgage Market Review are creating what head of research Stephanie McMahon calls ”potential headwinds” to batter the market next year.    If supply improves significantly thanks to the gradually strengthening house building figures, prices will be dampened, she warns.   “The government are continuing to boost house building across the country, and recent output figures from the construction sector reflect this. House prices tend to rise when stock is low and with more houses being built, particularly in the lower end of the market, this could also have an effect on prices over the next few months” explains McMahon.    strutt & ParkerStephanie McMahonlondon]]>

Purplebricks reported to be considering Stock Market floatation  20 Oct 14

Online agency Purplebricks, which launched just a few months ago in April, is already considering floating on the stock exchange next year according to one report. Launched by brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce, who ran the traditional high street agency Burchell Edwards in the Midlands, Purplebricks is backed by Paul Pindar, the former chief executive of outsourcing and business management firm Capita. Martin Bolland, Capita’s non-executive chairman, also has a financial stake in the business.   In August the so-called ‘star’ fund manager Neil Woodford invested £7m in the new firm, describing it as “a highly disruptive business model in the world of estate agency” with ”the vision, the technology and an experienced management team.”   The agency, which uses a network of local brokers to handle transactions, has told the Daily Telegraph that is has so far been instructed on 1,000 properties and sold more than 400; it claims to have saved vendors more than £1m in fees in its first three months.   This is some way off its eventual target business, however.   Over the summer the financial news service Citywire claimed that Purplebricks’ target for the financial year ending July 31 2015 is 85,413 instructions and for the following year 100,849 - if met, that would represent 10 per cent of all sales.  PurplebricksStock MarketOnline Estate Agents]]>

Asking prices up, but can vendors justify them?  20 Oct 14

Rightmove doesn’t appear to have read the script when it comes to the market - while many agents are reporting gentle price falls this autumn, the portal’s asking price index shows an increase in asking prices of 2.6 per cent over the past month.  This is the lowest rise at this time of year since 2008 but the portal warns that sellers may still find that their asking prices are too optimistic in parts of the country where the supply exceeds buyer demand.    New seller numbers are up by an average of 10 per cent compared to October 2013, giving buyers in some locations more fresh choice and negotiating power according to Rightmove.    Yet the average price of property coming to market increased in every region this month.    One reason for this is that there is still less property on the market due to the increased number of transactions, though with demand showing some signs of slowing in pace, and with buyer numbers traditionally more subdued during the winter, the portal suggests this price increase may prove to be too optimistic.   Rightmove’s national ‘time to sell’ index is up from 65.8 days to 67.8 days this month.   There appear to be few signs of a slowing market in the south east, which is now the strongest performing region in the country over the last 12 months. New seller asking prices in the south east are 10 per cent higher than a year ago, and higher than London’s current annual rate of 9.6 per cent.   “Demand has been on the up in most locations so far this year, but agents in many parts of the country report a slowing in that pace with an initial post-summer pick-up failing to gain momentum” says Rightmove’s Miles Shipside.    “There are more sellers giving it a go with newly-marketed listings on the up, and it seems that they recognise there is a window to sell now. However, to sell their property more quickly they should make it the most attractive in terms of price and preferably presentation if they are serious about selling within weeks rather than months.”  rightmovehousing marketasking prices]]>

Online agent tries to counter up-front fees argument  20 Oct 14

An online agent is trying to counter the bad publicity surrounding up-front fees by claiming clients can get their money returned if they are unsatisfied in any way - and even if they have successfully sold their property through the agency.  Traditional estate agents have repeatedly attacked the business model of online rivals for taking fees up-front from clients, normally on a non-refundable basis. Vendors then have to trust the online firms will continue promoting the properties without the incentive of a results-based payment.   But esaleuk.com, which has been operating for two years, has now introduced what it calls a “no quibble, money back guarantee.”   David Rook, the site’s managing director, has told Estate Agent Today: "We recognise that we’re exposing the business to an element of risk. Some could simply ask for their money back even if we sell their property.”   But he says: “There may be one or two but we reckon far more will be happy enough with the service we provide to settle their fee without argument.”  esalecoukOnline Estate AgentsUpFront Fees]]>

Estate agency brings franchise operation in-house  20 Oct 14

Cluttons has taken its former Resorts brand back in house and its portfolio of properties will now be marketed under the company’s name. Cluttons Resorts previously operated under a franchise agreement but Cluttons has now beefed up its in-house international sales team, led by Joanna Leverett who was poached from Savills last month.    The full Cluttons international portfolio now includes new developments, resorts and re-sale properties across the world.    The firm says 35 per cent of its business now takes place outside the UK and there are Cluttons-branded offices in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, India and South Africa.   CluttonsFranchisingJoanna Leverett]]>

Agent says C London house price growth 'almost halved' if Labour in power  17 Oct 14

Price growth in prime central London over the next five years could be radically different according to which party wins the election according to estate agency Chestertons.   Data produced by the agency says that if the Conservatives win, prices will grow between five and 10 per cent in each year from 2015 to 2018 inclusive, adding up to a cumulative growth total of no less than 31 per cent over that time.   But if Labour, or a Labour-led coalition government prevails, growth will be between only 1.5 per cent and eight per cent, adding up to only 18.5 per cent growth.   “If a Conservative government is in power following the election, we expect the market to settle back into growth mode with average prime values rising by around five per cent over the year, after flattening during the pre-election period” says the agency’s head of research, Nick Barnes.   “If a Labour or Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition administration is returned this could result in a temporary decline in values as owners and buyers alike wait to see whether the promised tax hikes are introduced” he warns.    Barnes says there are other political concerns hitting the market in the shorter term, too.   He says that confirmation is still awaited of details regarding the introduction of Capital Gains Tax on the sale of residential properties by non-resident owners from April 2015. “This has certainly sparked considerable concern among expatriate Brits who have retained the family home whilst living overseas, especially if they have rented out their property whilst away” says Barnes.   Foreign non-residents are equally anxious and the cumulative effect of this on top of the increased taxation of so-called ‘enveloped properties’ and the possibility of a mansion tax “may prove decisive for some overseas buyers” he warns.   londonLabourChestertons]]>

Price cap on Help To Buy to assist poor and first timers  17 Oct 14

The Scottish government is imposing a price cap on homes that can be purchased in future under the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme.    As of next Wednesday, October 22, the shared equity version of the scheme will only apply to homes worth up to £250,000, rather than the current maximum of £400,000.    The Holyrood authorities say this change will ensure that more people can benefit from available funding and help to target funding at lower income families and first time buyers.   With 85 per cent of all Help to Buy (Scotland) sales to date already at or below this new threshold, and an estimated 94 per cent of sales having been to first time buyers, most new build houses will not be affected by the changes. Anyone currently buying at between £250,000 and £400,000 will be able to proceed.   Since Help to Buy (Scotland) was launched in September 2013, more than 3,000 homes have been purchased with an additional 1,500 expected to be completed by the end of this financial year.   Some £275m of funding has been allocated to the scheme in Scotland so far, which is £55 million more than the £220m originally forecast.   scotlandhelp to buyEquity]]>

Agents Do Charity - this week's great causes...  17 Oct 14

Agents are busy selling and letting homes, making predictions about the 2015 market and judging what their views are over the respective property portals in the news right now.    Yet they still to raise money for good causes. We’re very happy to publicise your efforts and pay tribute to your fine work. If you want to be mentioned, please let us know. Email press@estateagenttoday.co.uk.   In the meantime, here are this week’s updates.   Dreamflight: Joanne Parris, who runs Barton Wyatt’s luxury lettings arm in Virginia Water, Surrey, is setting off tomorrow to Florida's theme parks with 192 seriously ill or disabled children. The Dreamflight Charity is again being sponsored by Barton Wyatt, which has donated funds and given Jo time off to help this great cause.     Dreamflight takes deserving children on the holiday of their dreams to America's capital of fun - Orlando. The children are chosen from all over the UK and it allows them to realise that they are not alone with their illness and not the odd one out. With the independence gained from being away from their family, they see other children who have suffered, they gain perspective and strength and with the help of the team of volunteers experience things that they never thought possible.    For more information on Dreamflight visit www.dreamflight.org or if you would like to support Jo in her fundraising contact her at the Barton Wyatt office on 01344 843 000 or email her on jp@bartonwyatt.co.uk.    ---   Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare: Online agency Market My Property says it has become a fundraising partner of Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare. The agency matches donations made by home sellers via its online sign up form and also volunteer time to the centre. More details on www.marketmyproperty.co.uk.    ---   Agents Giving: Once again Agents Giving hosted a successful golf day, raising £4,500 for good causes. The bi-annual event, which took place at Donnington Valley Golf Club in Berkshire, involved an auction and charity dinner following the competitive golf tournament. In attendance were teams from Zoopla, Rightmove and Reeds Rains, among others. Also demonstrating their golfing prowess on the day was Patron of Agents Giving, property expert and television presenter, Phil Spencer.   Competition on the day was fierce but the winning team by a hair’s breadth was Zoopla Property Group. There were also individual prizes; David Packwood from Andrews was awarded for having the longest drive whilst Darren Dinage from Rightmove won the prize for the worst drive. Meanwhile Simon Whale from Reapit retained his ‘best dressed’ title from the last golf day, held in May.    The event was sponsored by Hunters, Zoopla Property Group and Property Academy and the golf day partners were Cabin Fever, Ravensworth, Network Auctions, Reapit, Brief Your Market and Local World.   Agents can look forward to the next golf days to be held in 2015. Keep an eye on the Agents Giving website and Facebook and twitter pages: @Agents_Giving, for details.   ---   CRASH at Christmas: CRASH is a unique, practical charity addressing the issues of homelessness by harnessing the skills, products and goodwill of the construction and property industry. It acts as the conduit between the industry and homelessness agencies to help improve emergency night shelters, hostels, day centres and move-on accommodation.   This year alone the charity has helped over 7,000 vulnerable people throughout the UK get back on their feet and build a future. Sixty eight projects across the UK, from Inverness to Newquay, benefitted from CRASH’s provision of pro bono professional expertise, donated and discounted materials and cash grants totalling £603,631.   Although these figures are to be celebrated, there are legions of ‘hidden homeless’ not making use of year-round charitable services. So CRASH needs your help.   In return for donations over £100 you’ll get a CRASH animated Christmas e-card with your company logo. If you donate £500 or more by 19th December, CRASH will include your company’s name or logo in our special Thank You ads which we’ll be running in the construction and property industry media in the New Year.   ---   Breakthrough Breast Cancer: The 11-branch John German estate agency has held a Bake Off to raise awareness and money for this great charity - and made a terrific £258.38 - topped up by an extra 10 per cent given by Agents Giving.    The agency has expressed a big thank you to all the residents, friends, family and local businesses in Loughborough, East Leake and West Bridgford for lending their support.    If you would still like to donate TEXT: JGBO47 plus the amount you'd like to donate to 70070 or simply visit https://www.justgiving.com/John-German-Estate-Agents/    ---   Pancreatic Cancer UK: Andrew Roebuck, a Norfolk agent working for Living Property, is next week trekking along part of the Great Wall of China for Pancreatic Cancer UK. He’s been training hard, walking 30 to 40 miles a day, and he’s taking his 76 year old father with him.    You can sponsor him here: https://www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Roebuck      CharityAgents GivingEstate Agent]]>

Video round up 17.10.14 - Watch the weekly news from Estate Agent Today  17 Oct 14

Watch the latest weekly video roundup of news from Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today, featuring stories on the Scottish alternative to Stamp Duty, Sarah Beeny's new TV series about online house sales and tenants renting properties without even seeing them.Weekly Round UpVideoEstate Agent Today]]>

Stand by for controversy - Beeny's back online  16 Oct 14

Sarah Beeny’s latest TV series starts imminently and looks to be a must-watch - and is certain to provoke fierce debate throughout the industry. In each of the six episodes of How To Sell Your Home, the first of which is on Monday on Channel 4 at 8.30pm, Beeny will look at two stories.    In the first episode she meets Terri Measures who can no longer afford the upkeep of her listed country cottage and has to sell after her recent divorce, while in Nottingham there is the Watson family who bought their four bed semi in a bidding war five years ago, and now face selling at a loss.    So far so predictable for a TV property show. But these vendors, and all those featured in the new series, are selling their properties online instead of using traditional agents.   Beeny - who operates her own semi-online estate agency via the Tepilo website - insists that the series will not promote her own service. Some of the case studies will be selling privately but many will be using some of the online agencies which have proliferated in recent years.   Promotion for the programme by Channel 4’s press office has included letting local media outlets know of people featured on the programme. In one forthcoming episode a couple in Flintshire will be featured, who say they used a traditional estate agent for three months earlier this year and “it didn’t really work.”   Instead they have used Housesimple, an online site, and the vendor is enthusiastic: “We would definitely recommend selling this way. It saves so much money and isn’t as complicated as it sounds.”  Sarah BeenyTepiloOnline Agents]]>

 
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