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Purplebricks: "Weaknesses ahead" over completions, warns financial analyst

An equity specialist has warned that shareholders may now choose this is the time to sell their stakes in Purplebricks because “there is a risk that its hefty valuation will not live up to its much-advertised hype.”

Michael Allen, an equity specialist contributing to financial news service Proactive Investors, writes that “since trading at peak in July, the shares have gradually drifted lower ... Purplebricks claims to be the best-reviewed estate agency online, but if it is not selling homes, there is a risk that its hefty valuation will not live up to its much-advertised hype.”

Allen’s reference to not selling homes follows an analysis some months ago by another financial specialist, Anthony Codling of Jefferies, who calculates that between November 2015 and March 2016 only 14 per cent of homes listed on Purplebricks in three sample areas - Bournemouth, Southampton and Birmingham - had actually completed.

Earlier this week Allen told Proactive Investors that with regard to Purplebricks “at the time of writing the share price is 132p and I foresee further weakness ahead.”

Yesterday it rallied very slightly to close at 133.50p, up 0.50p on the day.

“The question that will become increasingly important for shareholders is ‘how many of its homes that it is listing has it sold?’. Unlike other estate agents, this is a fact that Purplebricks elect not to disclose” says Allen. 

“Its business model encourages instructions, as customers are able to pay only on completion or after 10 months, so why wouldn’t you ‘try it’?” he adds.

Over the summer Purplebricks launched in Australia with a marketing spend said to approach £10m.

  • Trevor Mealham

    WHICH - THE CONSUMER GROUP WEEKS AGO SAID ONLY 4 IN 10 SLES COME FROM MAIN PORTALS.
    ** THIS IS TRAGIC NEWS FOR ONLINE ONLY AGENTS

    PB may scrape lucky in some areas where they have a few old hands on deck. But new to the game negs may struggle when simply listing a home in a tough market portals alone isn't enough to sell a home.

    In harder markets and the Winter slow down, many budget online only and recent to the game agents may find a stumbling block where - we can save you £housands, simply don't cut the cake.

    jeremy clarke

    Fully agree with you Trevor. With the draft blowing around whether EPCs will continue to be necessary we are finding that EPAs are unable to make a living and are jumping ship before it sinks - I predict that the same will happen when the market shrinks back and the public find that just sticking a board in the garden and an advert on the internet doesn't sell/let their property!

     
  • Spencer Fortag

    I could not agree more with you Trevor. I have maintained for sometime now that the online, cut-price model can work, but only really when it's a sellers market and any door-opener could sell a property! It is when the market slows down, as you have completely correctly identified, that the art of agency returns. You know; dealing with PEOPLE, conducting actual NEGOTIATIONS and offering great PROGRESSION. Many of these skills and more, are I believe sadly lacking from new-to-agency staff as they have had the benefit of a great market for a while now. I had an interesting conversation with the head of marketing for a massive corporate who agreed with me on this very point.

  • IAN SOUTHALL

    Me thinks "Don't tell 'em Pike" comes to mind... mind you, sounds like the on-liners have discovered this for themselves... hardly rocket science!

  • Kit Johnson

    And the little boy cried "But look, the Emperor has no clothes".............

  • John Evans

    £849 is not a selling fee. It's a listing fee with a call centre agent. Big difference.

  • Colin Bain

    You all know that P Bricks get paid on listing yes? They do not get paid after 10 months or on sale as above adverts states. They get paid 14 days after the listings.

  • Chris Arnold

    "So why wouldn't you try it? ". Because it is going to cost you money whether you sell, or not. There are no winners here, apart from those that manipulate the share price.

  • Sally Jones

    Agree Colin but I understand there is a 10 month pay later option but if you use this option you have to use their conveyancing firm when you do eventually secure a buyer and no doubt the fees for this are high! Don't agree with this approach myself and I actually thought this practice wasn't allowed. It would be interesting to know how many sellers are fully aware of this but as usual PB seem to be getting away with it.

  • Mike Morris

    taking part in a charity bike ride next year Nicaragua to Costa Rica Cycle 2017, would be great to get some support

    https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MikeMorris2016

  • Kristjan Byfield

    £18 million losses in 2 years. How is that not front and centre in any of these articles? Online agents have a definite role in our industry but are not 'the future'. A blend of full service combined with great software and other additional proptech platforms like FixFlo, Goodlord, PayProp, EyeSpy360 and more are where the future really lies in terms of user experience and company profitability.

  • icon

    These people are NOT estate agents in the sense that most high street agents are. They are listers! What happens once a sale has been agreed? You should try dealing with them on sales progession.

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