WEEKLY NEWS ROUNDUP – 27/08/2021
A roundup of the week’s top property and proptech news stories in partnership with Proptech-X
- Matt Gilpin’s Sprift goes live
- Bitcoin value rises and PayPal integrate cryptocurrency
- HMRC: UK housing market falls off a cliff in July
- Property Ombudsman: Complaint levels are up 29%
- Zoopla’s Yourkeys supercharges shared ownership sales journey
Matt Gilpin’s Sprift goes live
It has been announced that Sprift has now been deployed on the third largest portal in the UK, OnTheMarket.
Jason Tebb, CEO of OnTheMarket, is certainly looking to make the lives of its members easier, utilising key partnerships with software solutions that can really help estate agents gain a financial advantage.
Tebb states: “our vision is to provide ‘best in class’ business solutions for agents, either included in their monthly fee or at a significantly reduced cost using our considerable buying power and network of industry suppliers, with our partnership with Sprift being the first part of that approach.”
Under the stewardship of Founder and CEO Matt Gilpin, the company looks to provide big data sets that put all stakeholders in the driver’s position. Sprift, whose tagline is “know any property instantly”, provides this data in the form of upfront information for any property, making house buying and selling quicker, easier and cheaper for all.
Bitcoin value rises and PayPal integrate cryptocurrency
In recent months, due to soundbites from Elon Musk – which are known to have a significant effect on the markets – plus the Chinese crypto-crackdown, numerous cryptocurrencies have been languishing in the doldrums.
Now bitcoin, the mother of all cryptocurrencies, has broken the $50,000 dollar mark, a 3-month high. PayPal has also thrown its hat into the ring, launching a service for UK-based customers to buy and sell bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash.
The big question for the banking fraternity is of course the volatility of the currency, which has seen bitcoin rally and crash time and again, before rising more than 80% since the start of January 2021.
Wall Street and a lot of global wealth institutions simply do not like the erratic nature of bitcoin, but as the months go by, it is becoming evident that a decentralised currency may become a mainstream way of doing business.
HMRC: UK housing market falls off a cliff in July
Yesterday the Resolution Foundation told the world that the SDLT holiday had not stimulated the housing market. Now, thankfully, HMRC has provided good old-fashioned data, showing that the seasonally adjusted number of sales that completed in the UK in July was 63% lower than in June.
Only 73,740 properties were moved into this July, down from a whopping 198,400 properties just the month before, and nearly half the average amount of properties that completed each month up to July.
What could be the reason for the housing market falling off the proverbial cliff? The answer is simple, the last day of June was the last day that buyers could get a maximum of £15,000 stamp duty knocked off their moving costs.
Resolution Foundation might not think that this was a market driver, but it appears that common sense, and now the HMRC, are telling us it was.
At the end of September, property over £125,000 up to the value of £250,000 will incur standard SDLT charges. Presently there is a three-month staggered advantage for properties in this price range, so we could see a further dip in house transactions in October.
With furlough wrapping up and the fact that 25% of homeowners have missed at least one mortgage payment during the pandemic, plus Brexit coming back into focus, the autumn housing market may well become a buyers’ market with prices stagnating or even dipping.
What will the Chancellor do then?
Property Ombudsman: Complaint levels are up 29%
It’s true that statistics can be used to prove anything. In this case, the Property Ombudsman has stated that in 2020 the number of disgruntled people showed their disdain by making more complaints than ever before, 29% up on 2019.
But could it be that people had more time on their hands or the fact that the Property Ombudsman had a brand new portal, making it easier for the public to lodge their complaints?
It comes as no surprise that nearly 70% of complaints were from sellers, who stood to gain if their case was proved. 30% of the complaints were made by buyers.
As ever it was lack of communication and perceived indifference that were the key levers in many of the disputes, and in total over 39,000 people thought to complain.
Interestingly, the Property Ombudsman sided with the general public two-thirds of the time, but typically financial awards to those who had suffered poor service were reasonably minor.
Zoopla’s Yourkeys supercharges shared ownership sales journey
With my other hat on as a proptech consultant and analyst, I have always been a huge advocate of Yourkeys. As they are past clients of ours at Proptech-PR, I got to know both the tech and the team over the years, before their April 2021 exit to Zoopla.
Also, as an ex-estate agent, their mission to speed up property transactions and safeguard all stakeholders was an obvious proptech proposition to me. I could easily see how it would’ve made my life better.
The great news is that now Riccardo Iannucci-Dawson and the team are pushing forward even more under the umbrella of Zoopla, they have just rolled out a new iteration where they digitally streamline the paper-heavy process of buying shared ownership properties. These, of course, make up a good chunk of the new home market every year.
Without getting into all the technology involved, what the team has actually managed to do is codify an extremely complex set of variables and build a way to control all of these outcomes. At the same time, they’re being mindful of all the stakeholders’ needs; from the seller, buyer, lender, and legal perspective, all while acknowledging the extra needs of the shared ownership process.
In time, Yourkeys will be seen as the textbook proptech business, where a single driving proposition from the mind of Riccardo Iannucci-Dawson, coupled with the technological wizardry of CTO Dan Makin and financial expertise of Co-founder Craig Massey.
Because getting property exchanged more quickly is the holy grail of the residential agency, I would say that Zoopla has now a huge advantage in the present arms race as to which portal acquires the best proptech.
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.