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Purplebricks sells £2.8bn worth of property - plans to launch in Australia

In a very buoyant report to the City, Purplebricks claims it has sold £2.8 billion worth of property in the year to April 30 with another £1.7 billion sold subject to contract. 

Revenues for the fledgling firm have soared 448 per cent in a year.

The agency describes its 77 per cent conversion rate as being above industry norms and possibly “industry leading” - it ended the year with 2,827 instructions in April. 

Purplebricks’ website visits grew to 1.23m in April this year, against 0.4m in April last year.

By the end of April it had 205 Local Property Experts with a recruitment programme in hand expected to take the figure to 245 by the start of July. 

It also claims 62 per cent of the ‘non traditional’ estate agency market in the UK and boasts of its 5,800 ‘excellent’-status Trustpilot reviews; it has reiterated its prediction it will be in profit within this financial year.

The agency is also launching in Australia, which it describes as a £3.3 billion marketplace. It has already recruited an Australian management team and has set a maximum planned investment of AUS$14m - around £10m - over the next two years.

“In just our second full year of operation we are leading change in an industry that has long been stagnant and is only now waking up to the opportunities and threats posed by technological advance and changing consumer behaviour” says Michael Bruce, chief executive and co-founder of the agency.

“While others are following we have retained our leading position, with 62 per cent of the non-traditional estate agency market and look to replicate this success in Australia” explains Bruce.

Meanwhile chairman Paul Pinder says: “During the year, we evolved from a regional footprint to a full national presence across the UK. Our strategy is focussed upon deepening this coverage across the UK to ensure we have an 'ultra local' presence through the recruitment of more Local Property Experts (LPEs). 

“In this regard, I am delighted to report that we are ahead of our recruitment plan, closing our financial year with 205 LPEs, an increase of 159% over the corresponding year. This additional expertise will provide essential capacity to meet the burgeoning demand from our customers. More and more highly skilled estate agents are choosing Purplebricks Group plc because of our strong customer centric culture and full service offering.” 

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    And how many of those LPEs' (sic) were and are now, legally registered with an approved redress scheme along with money laundering, PI, PL insurance, ICO etc?

  • Terence Dicks

    That would be none. Why would anyone want to protect the public from these cowboys??

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    RIP the high street agent and those exorbitant fees you have been getting away with for years...

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    good luck selling your house when you've paid a company upfront for a service industry where they will have no incentive to perform. Having viewings conducted by a chap that lives and generally works 20 miles away, and really the only incentive for these people to sell your house is to reduce their overall workload.
    and Dean I would love to know what job you do if you think a 1.4 % service charge is high?

     
    Terence Dicks

    Hey Dean, I like it when people like you come on here spouting rubbish, it is SUCH fun!!

     
  • Darren Middleton

    Has anyone read the PV mystery shop on them and their finding on their LPE's that in many cases were nothing of the sort. Surely, this goes against one of their main selling features. Whilst they do sell homes, we experience huge issues trying to progress deals with agents such as this. Perhaps the focus is on the front end of the business?

  • Trevor Mealham

    One of our INEA member agents has just taken an offer on a penthouse at £505k. The Purple Bricks valuation was below £400k.

    Even if the owner had gone with PB at £1100, then our agents main agency to sub out at 1.5% is far better for the consumer seller.

    The recent Guild and Countrywide lower cost entry models to sell with the option to upgrade will hit the budget alone agents.

  • Algarve  Investor

    They are certainly causing a few shockwaves in the industry, whether they are real or imagined. We don't know for sure if all this is PR and bluster, or they can actually back up their strong assertions, but they certainly seem to be giving the big traditional agencies something to think about.

    Brand awareness and brand recognition is their trump card. It's better than any other online agent, and better than many of the high-profile traditional agencies too. Whether you like it or not, the distinctive purple branding is memorable and their adverts, though annoying, do feed into your consciousness.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    They have picked interesting stats that sound more impressive than they really are- but of course they would (just like any of us would for our respctive co's). Given their huge marketing spend and the level of media coverage in the last 12 months 448% growth in revenue is really the least they should expect but lets not forget they lost £8m last year- theres a long way to recovery from there. As always, intrigued to see the real figures as I feel profit this year apperas optimistic. With 205 LPEs even at just £18k each that is a £3.7m salary bill which is more like £4.4m at their target of 245 and thats based on minimum wage.
    As for comments that the LPEs are that- there are tos of agents claiming to be experts but are morons with no knowledge, professionalism and are solely self-interested so that's a non starter.
    There is no question they have grown market share but I have still not seen any evidence that this is a viable and successful business model.
    I am also mystified why Dean Fisher and so many other think an average sales fee of around 1.3% is expensive!? Most of Europe sees fees of around 5-6% even as high as 10%. Now THAT is expensive- the UK is a bargain.
    Roll on the real figures!

  • Terence Dicks

    PB are all front and no depth. As Kristjan says-roll on the real figures. Their spend is massively outweighing their income and will do for years. Now they are talking about Australia-expect the Bruces to dump their shares here if THAT comes off.

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    The thing is, when will we see the 'real' figures? These were supposed to be the real figures. But they've been spun in a way that makes it not seem like a disaster waiting to happen.

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    You all might laugh at the Purplebricks and Yopa’s of this world and post comments online about them being rubbish, saying stuff like their service is cr*p, they get paid on the listing – not the sale, they aren’t local, they don’t offer a great service, they haven’t got people on the ground, they run it from their kitchen table etc etc … and yes, I would agree with you on all those points .. but most of you agents aren’t doing anything to counter the threat of them ….. apart from posting comments from behind the desks your expensive High Street premises. They have enough money to last two and half years - even if they spend a million a month on TV advertising

    Some of you have even gone further …I have had many phone calls from High Street agents asking my opinion if they should offer two services …… a High Street offering and an Online Agent offering?

    Unless you a regional player whereby you can set up your own mini contact centre or as a good friend of mine in the industry suggested … few of you band together as a cooperative of independents (one per town) ..so you can keep the online and High St offering completely separate (so you can make money at it)

    … if you are an independent, with between one and five offices and you do offer the two services (High St and Online) … you be creating the monster you fear the most, you will make all your potential vendor think they need the cheaper option.

    "You can have our expensive High St option fee .. or our cheap Online Fee…"

    ..but if you don’t have the contact centre .. what will you do if a vendor walks into your office to ask a question. Turn them away? Or deal with them .. and that makes a mockery of your online package.

    You will be devaluing and dumbing down your service, you will be saying, we have this awesome service but we don’t think we are worth it, so you can have this ‘cheap as chips’ option instead.

    Come on .. wake up and smell the coffee fellow agents in the UK

    Its time to prove your value, your worth, your value .. how do you do that?

    Do this ... https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beating-purplebricks-yopa-own-game-christopher-watkin

  • Terence Dicks

    You seem to think you are a bit of a guru Christopher. For your information, most agents are indeed not simply sitting behind their desks posting comments as you so arrogantly put it, we are reasonably successfully selling homes all the time. PB and others like them will soon need to change their flawed business model or they will fail massively. Contact centres were around in the 80's and they do not work (ask the Halifax). A faceless individual on the telephone does not care a whit about anything other than their wage and have no feel for the client or their property. A decent agent cares about getting the sale to complete (even if it is only about the money) whereas the online agents who are guaranteed a fee when they list a property have no interest in progressing a sale as they have already been paid for listing. What do you think is more important to the online agent Christopher?? The model PB (and others who charge up front fees regardless of whether they sell or not) use is to my mind no better than fraud. Agents who insist clients use THEIR conveyancers (and charge extra non-stated fees on top if they do not) because they get a cut of the action are no better, online OR high street. If all the online agents actually manage to prove they can survive without crowdfunding or any such method of attracting unearned money, I would be delighted because it would mean they were actually doing their job correctly and not just ripping people off (sellers OR investors). We prove ourselves to our sellers and buyers every day by being honest and trustworthy to them, and completing sales Christopher, so get off your soapbox.

  • Rob Bryer

    Some simple maths shows why cheap agency is unsustainable at these levels. Rough figures as we don't know the exact timeline but based on 2827 instructions in the year shared with 205 local property experts that 13.79 each. Let's call that 14 each and at a commission of £225 each they get only £3102 pa as a local agent. Now I am sure there are upsells etc but thats one massive upsell needed to create a sustainable income. This model is not sustainable for the agent on the ground. The old fable of the Hare and the Tortoise comes to mind. Slow and steady wins the race. Those that rush in miss the view.

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