Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone, together with his business partner Roger Taylor, has made a substantial investment in online estate agent HouseSimple.
The online agent claims the investment, rumoured to be about £5m, underscores the increasing appeal and growth prospects of the online estate agency market.
Today, online estate agents currently represent around 2% of the total UK market, but this is projected to grow to over 20% over the next five years. In the past two years, HouseSimple's own revenues have quadrupled.
Alex Gosling, CEO of HouseSimple, said: Online estate agency is a market whose time has come. People are fed-up with the expense and poor customer service of the High Street agents. We sell more of our properties than High Street agents, we achieve a higher asking price, less of our sales fall through, and we have much higher customer satisfaction ratings. To top it all, we only charge one tenth of the price they do. With Charles' and Roger's backing, we can now turn on the growth tap and save our customers an enormous amount of money and hassle.
Dunstone said: We believe estate agency is going to change considerably, with the future increasingly belonging to online estate agents. We like HouseSimple, we like its management and we like the idea of saving Britain's home sellers billions of pounds, with a better experience. HouseSimple has the potential to be one of the industry's real online winners, and we intend to be a core investor to help it achieve its full potential. That is what our investment today signals.