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Online agencies seen as threat to 'quick sale' buying firms

A third of ‘quick sale’ companies - those that buy homes in bulk at discounted prices - say the rise of online estate agencies represents a threat to their sector.

In a report produced by the National Association of Property Buyers, an umbrella body which has 19 quick sale firms on its books, the rise of online estate agencies was seen as the third most significant danger to the sector.

Only a lack of sellers in the current market and a rise in competition between rival companies were seen as more significant threats; auction houses and the difficulties in raising funds to underwrite quick sale purchases, by contrast, were seen as less significant threats than the rise of online agencies.

The NAPB was formed in 2014 following an investigation by the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading into the cash property buying market in 2013. It describes its role as seeking to raise standards in the professional property buying industry and helping sellers decide whether a quick sale is appropriate for their circumstances. 

Now the association has produced a report giving a snapshot of the sector. It says:

- the number of properties bought by professional property buyers between April 2016 and March 2017 increased on the same period the previous 12 months;

- the amount spent by professional property buyers over the same period has also increased, with 50 per cent of respondents spending up to £50m in the last financial year on buying property;

- the average property purchase takes a maximum of 28 days and the fastest took just four hours from when papers were issued to the solicitor;

- the public’s attitude towards professional buying companies is improving.

“The report highlights that the property buying market continues to steadily grow with three quarters of respondents buying more property this year than they did last year” says NAPB director Jonathan Rolande.

“It also highlights that our members’ services are not just for those in financial difficulties - something which is often presumed. In fact, the service our members offer often helps people in a variety of situations including those who are working to a tight timescale for their move.

“Unusual properties or those in a bad state of repair can often be difficult to sell on the open market. In these cases a professional property buying company is often the best solution for the seller. Many of our members will buy these types of properties - and will do so quickly to relieve the owner of the burden” he adds.

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