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Buckle Up - High Street agencies in for a tough autumn says KPMG

Traditional estate agencies could be in for a stormy autumn and face being the next casualty of the high street shake-out according to accountancy giant KPMG.

Blair Nimmo, KPMG’s head of restructuring, says: “High street estate agents are presently facing an unprecedented set of challenges. The rise of online-only agencies have combined with falling house prices, a slowdown in sale activity and a raft of legislative changes, all of which have generated headwinds for your average high street agent.”

He adds: “I would therefore not be surprised to see operators across this sector struggle over the second half of the year and beyond.”

KPMG almost inevitably cites Foxtons (battling the poor London market) and Countrywide (“in full-blown crisis” according to the accountancy firm) as examples of how the traditional agency model is under pressure.

By contrast, KPMG cites Purplebricks, Emoov and Tepilo as just some of the online operators eating into the market share of bricks and mortar firms.

It says the high street has been “pummelled” in recent months with high profile retail administrations and store closures - House of Fraser, Maplin and Toys R Us have all gone bust, while New Look, Carpetright and Mothercare have all shut stores. The casual dining sector has also suffered extensive closures. 

“Whilst a number of chains have survived through the implementation of successful Company Voluntary Agreements or via pre-pack administrations, inevitably there have been site closures and job losses across many parts of the country” according to KPMG.

Although the number of companies in England and Wales entering into administration during the second quarter of 2018 fell to 302 from the 347 recorded in the previous quarter, year-on-year the number was significantly higher. 

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    High Street estate agency has been 'pummelled' by extortionate portal costs. For too long. One area ripe for change and disruption.

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    Another non industry commentator lumping agency in with retail again, countrywide proved that theory wrong.

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    Only the strongest agencies, with high service levels, will survive this time. Staff loyalty is always the key to success.

  • David Clark

    Agree with James Long. Would have thought KPMG would have realised the difference. At least some of the independent 'bricks and mortar' firms have some profits to help navigate tougher market conditions - more than can be said for PB et al. The bigger agencies probably have the most to fear as cutting costs is always very difficult for them.

  • Will Hunt

    "High Street agencies in for a tough autumn says KPMG"
    Oh please, us High Street Agents have had a tough year let alone just one season; We're almost as hard as the Scots now!

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