The former boss of Emoov, the controversial Russell Quirk, has resuscitated his career as a public relations man and pro-Brexit commentator.
Just before Christmas - as his online agency was collapsing leaving thousands of vendors stranded and his staff asking for financial assistance through crowdfunding - it was revealed by Estate Agent Today that Quirk was involved with a separate company, Properganda.
It was set up some weeks before Emoov went into administration.
Now his LinkedIn profile describes Quirk as a co-founder of the PR agency of that name.
He has also become a pro-Brexit commentator as well as housing market pundit: yesterday for example he appeared on a radio chat show hosted by a pro-Brexiteer and made his first official comment under the title ‘property expert’ in a press release from his own company.
He tweeted a picture of England and Union flags near the London Eye big wheel saying: “Walked past this today - I’m providing some #Brexit balance given the @MayorofLondon attempt to hijack it on New Year’s Eve.”
He also took a controversial line on the harassment of Tory MP Anna Soubry by pro-Brexit protestors in Parliament Square. In response to some calling for protests there to be restricted he tweeted: “Parliament Square renamed as Tianamen Square perhaps? We need to be very careful here that we don’t demonise protest and curtail free speech. ‘I vehemently disagree with what they say but will fight for their right to say it’.”
Quirk also commented on yesterday’s Halifax house price index, saying: “The UK market has been through the wringer of late but while Brexit uncertainty delivers blow after blow, the resilience of the nation’s bricks and mortar backbone continues to shine through and defy the naysayers. While the year ahead will be a tough one, it’s likely that once the dust does settle on our EU exit, the damage will be far less than predicted.”
Meanwhile the rest of the property industry has been digesting those Halifax figures.
They show prices in the three months to December were 1.3 per cent higher than in the same three months a year earlier.
However, the same index shows that house prices in the latest quarter (October to December) were 0.4 per cent lower than in the preceding three months (July to September).
Just to complicate matters further, on a monthly basis house prices increased by 2.2 per cent in December, following a 1.2 per cent fall in November.
The Halifax says the average house price in Britain is now £229,729.
“A stronger monthly growth figure for December reversed a weak November figure; monthly fluctuations are common, leaving the annual figure very firmly in the range of zero to three per cent as we forecast at the start of the year ” explains Russell Galley, Halifax’s managing director.
“In 2019 we’re expecting continued stability in house prices with between two and four per cent price inflation. This is slightly stronger than 2018, but still fairly subdued by modern comparison. However, this expectation will clearly be dependent on the Brexit outcome, with risks to both sides of our forecast” he continues.
“Of course, there are a number of other factors that will impact the market in 2019. The need to raise a significant deposit still acts as a restraint for those looking to buy a new home, limiting the number of potential purchasers.
“This year, mortgage payment affordability is more difficult to predict. There are competing pressures with signs of positive annual pay growth supporting affordability, but risks associated with the potential for higher interest rates are pulling in the other direction. On balance we do not see affordability pushing house price growth significantly in either direction.
“The shortage of homes for sale and continuing low levels of housebuilding both constrain the supply of houses, and in turn support high prices, which will continue to inhibit demand in 2019.”