An executive director at hybrid estate agency EweMove has hit out at the government’s apparent support for innovation in the house sales sector, accusing it of focusing on price and not value.
George Ayliffe, who was also a founding director of estate agency software company Vebra, has told property magazine Estates Gazette that the government has some way to go to encourage real competition and innovation in estate agency.
Some months ago the government, in a statement on digital innovation, said it wanted to “inject innovation into the process of home buying” through new digital-focused business models for estate agencies, with a strong emphasis on making the process quicker, simpler and in particular cheaper.
Now Ayliffe has told EG: “Technology is starting to play a bigger part in delivering better value and making the experience of buying a home more consumer-friendly.
“However it’s not just price that consumers require. We have instances where the online agent might be cheaper but the price they achieved for a similar property on the same housing estate was significantly lower than EweMove resulting therefore in the online agent failing to achieve better value for their client.
“The government wants to increase competition but we only have to read property forums to see how diverse charges by Rightmove and Zoopla significantly affect the ability of new firms to enter the market.
“It’s time for the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate how portals are restricting competition.”
Ayliffe was one of a number of residential sector commentators taking part in an Estates Gazette ‘scorecard’ analysis of how the Cameron government has fared after a year in office.
Ayliffe was asked to score the government’s performance on estate agency digital innovation out of 10 - and he gave the administration a zero.
“Score: 0/10 because the government hasn’t done anything to increase competition and is focusing on price, not value” he wrote.