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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

More tough stock market trading for Purplebricks, Countrywide and Foxtons

There has been more volatile stock market trading for some of the industry’s highest-profile agencies. 

Countrywide - whose chief executive Alison Platt took the industry by surprise yesterday by becoming a non-executive director of Tesco in addition to running Britain’s biggest agency group - ended the day 8.3 down at 363.4. This was the equivalent of a 2.23 per cent drop on the day. 

However, early in the day it had shot up to 376.0. 

Foxtons - which earlier this week announced it was to open five new branches this year, two in the troubled central London market and three on the outskirts of the capital - ended yesterday down 5.0 points, equivalent to 2.63 per cent. Analysts suggested ongoing London housing market uncertainty was to blame.

But online estate agency Purplebricks was the biggest loser, with its fate creating debate on social media. 

After edging down consistently since its launch to the market a week before Christmas, it dropped another 6.0 points yesterday to close at 78.0; this represented a drop of some 7.14 per cent in just one day.

The online agency - backed by star fund manager Neil Woodford - started trading on December 17 on the Alternative Investment Market, regarded as London's junior market. Then its 240m ordinary shares were placed at 100p each based on a market capitalisation of £240.3m.

Another recently floated agent, Hunters, was unchanged on the day.

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    The future of (most) estate agency business' is a hybrid one in my view, much like the American model however, PB are making an exceptionally poor job of this.

    PB have knowingly made misleading statements during their IPO and since about the qualifications of their 'experts'. They have failed to respond promptly and professionally to legitimate questions about these matters and, if the (unmoderated) reviews on their Facebook page are to be believed, they are failing customers badly (contrasting totally, with the reviews on the moderated, official, reviews page).
    It also has to be said that, along with some other big-name agents, PBs' listings seem to be suffering regular 'technical issues' which seem to have the effect that customers homes appear to be on the market for less time than they really have. No doubt, Rightmoves current investigation into technical issues and mal-practice will reveal more information. We can only hope that Zoopla also carries out a similar exercise.

  • Lord Elpus

    Ooyah! Bit of a battering for old Purplebricks, there. Still, nothing compared to what I endured at Eton...

    Future is hybrid, for sure. Future is not, however, pulling £240m valuations out of thin air.

    I threatened to get my arse out on the town hall steps of PB was worth £240m. Unlike at Eton, I reckon my arse is very safe.

  • DAVID PERRIN

    Agree with Chris' comments. The future will be more USA method, plenty of networking, operating on line and with an office to meet & greet customers, therefore adding the 'personal touch'. No need for high street window to showcase property as the portals do that.

  • Richard White

    I've said before that the valuation of PB was bordering on comedic and there are many reasons why it is (probably) a White Elephant. Local agents get known by trundling around in a Citroen C1 with their logo on it, sending out leaflets and obviously being on the portals. PB have to advertise on the telly, which, rumour would have it, is ever so slightly more expensive. That's ok though because they charge more to compensate......... oh no, hold on, they don't. Say no more......

    ...... other than, in their defence, trading is horrible at the moment on all the markets and investors are acting in a ridiculous headless chicken manner, galloping from one asset to the other, based on the flimsiest of news. This is not to excuse the poor performance of the PB stock thus far, but rather to try to inject a modicum fairness along the way.

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