BREAKING NEWS – top 5 stories 09/04/2021
HOUSING MARKET – WILL IT BE BOOM OR BUST?
There are conflicting reports about which way the housing market of 2021 will go. Will it continue strong through the year or falter after June?
Having been in that 1988 market and personally selling four properties a week consistently for a year, only to go on holiday for a fortnight and come back to be told the branch sold two properties with four sales people in 14-days, I know that a super-hot market can be switched off. But, the BoE base rate was 13%, 33-years ago, not the 0.1% it is today.
We did not have Help to buy etc, and in 1988 there were 2 million completions, unlike now – where we still see 1.1M as the annual figure for the past 7 years or so, so maybe the market will stay fair to buoyant for a while yet as there has not been a massive uptick.
In fact if you look at the size of growth of the population in the last decade – a static completion rate actually tells us that there just are not enough properties to buy or rent.
Add in the amount of people WFH and needing to move to do that away from their ‘annoying’ neighbours, or to get out of flats and into houses with gardens, and you have new dynamics in the marketplace that never existed pre-covid.
PURPLEBRICKS STARTS £7M CHARM OFFENSIVE VIA NEW PR CAMPAIGN
It has been announced that Purplebricks via a new PR partner is looking at a campaign to grow its digital footprint, it will be interesting to see what shape this takes. Apparently, they are going to re-launch under the banner of being the UK’s tech led agency.
ROI will be interesting as 72% of consumers ‘buy’ off a friend’s recommendation that is why Influencer marketing is so huge, a person you follow and trust, rather than an advert that you never see on YouTube etc, as many pay for an advert blocker. So will big PR cut the mustard?
Purplebrick’s technology credentials are pretty thin too if they are going down the ‘UK’s leading tech led agency’ route, as CBRE which turns over $23BN annually might have something to say about usurping that title.
A better title might be estate agent lite, tech lite, a service that delights neither the digital native or the service hungry consumer. With the annual accounts out soon, will that £7M spend eat all of their profit for the year? I think it will be a close-run thing.
HALIFAX SAYS NATIONALLY HOUSE PRICES ARE ON THE RISE
Halifax building society have released metrics that state house prices have risen by 6.5% in the last 12 months since Lockdown 1.0.
CONVEYANCING UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
The bottleneck of sales that would have missed the end of March cut off has raised a big debate about the conveyancing element of each sale, and could it be speeded up. And the reticence of the legal profession to adopt technology.
Personally, I feel that if ‘traditional’ conveyancers do not adopt modern ways, their revenue will dry up. As the digital native locusts will search out the digital native conveyancers, I do not think these locusts buy stamps or even own a biro, so cannot comprehend using a company that does. Totally agree that the law society and whole fabric of the legal profession needs to have a good talk to itself and realise that it is not an ‘island’.
If the failures of the retailers, and the ascendency of e-platform businesses like Amazon have not drilled home the message that the consumer – consumes 24/7 365, and buying a property is an act of a consumer in need of UX – so being open 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch and not at weekends is a 1960’s idyll not a 2025 reality.
Many sections of the media re running campaigns on this from the Times looking to reduce the house sale time cycle, to a recent mention on Radio 4’s moneybox.
WINKWORTH HAS A SUBDUED PERFORMANCE
Despite bullish rhetoric, Winkworth announced a pretty mediocre annual profit of £1.63M, it plans to move forward with growth in 2021 and of course has a franchise model within it. Given its London centric base, it will be interesting to see how it fares through the next trading year. Especially as non-doms are now having to find an extra 2% of their London property purchase.
If you have a view – please let us all know by emailing me at [email protected] – Andrew Stanton Executive Editor – moving property and proptech forward.