Here it is - the start of a new decade, a moment for resolutions and remembrance, and the last Bank Holiday for most of the UK until the middle of April.
Everyone at Estate Agent Today, the other ‘Today’ titles and at Angels Media wishes you and your family and friends a successful and prosperous 2020. Thank you for keeping us company during the past year, and please keep in touch over the next 12 months. Our next edition is on Thursday January 2.
With a raft of industry changes planned already, plus a new highly-motivated government in place and Brexit on the horizon, there’s little doubt that 2020 will have plenty of news stories - we’ll be here to provide you with what you need to know, as it happens.
And just to show how much things change, here are three stories chosen from Estate Agent Today’s very early days back in 2010. As you can see, a lot happened in that decade … what’s in store for us in the next?
1. The rise and fall of Purplebricks’ backer Neil Woodford. Back in 2010 an EAT story said:
Star hedge fund manager Neil Woodford has said that the UK could slip back into recession, with property prices to fall hard.
Woodford, manager of the Invesco Perpetual High Income and Income funds, said in a live webchat with investors that a double-dip scenario is looking increasingly likely.
He forecasts that house prices could slide by as much as 30% between now and 2013, dropping between 5% and 10% a year over the coming 36 months.
He told investors: “I think the chances of a double dip – and by that I mean two successive quarters of negative growth in GDP – in the next year in the UK are now increased.”
In reality, house prices dipped 0.8 per cent in 2011; then rose 1.1 per cent in 2012 and rose 5.4 per cent in 2013 according to government figures. Meanwhile Neil Woodford - having divested himself of his Purplebricks investments - has an estimated 500,000 savers trapped in his investment fund and, according to The Times, “nursing heavy losses.”
2. The rise and fall and rise and fall of Foxtons. Back in 2010 an EAT story said:
Foxtons is to launch another 20 offices in London and Surrey, despite possible black clouds over the market and losses of £900,000 last year.
The agency, however, has reported a turnaround in the first half of this year, with pre-tax profits of £16.7m.
After running into difficulty last year, Bank of America and Japanese bank Mizuho came to the rescue by taking a combined majority stake in the business in return for writing off £180m in debt.
Foxtons now plans to expand aggressively over the next three years: 20 more branches will take it to almost 50.
In reality, Foxtons did indeed launch those 20 offices and at one time in the past decade took its branch network up to well over 70 branches. Then branch closures became necessary as London’s market suffered from unaffordability, a surplus of new builds and Brexit paralysis - now it has around 60 branches.
3. The rise and rise of Rightmove. Back in 2010 an EAT story said:
Despite a difficult market, estate agents have shelled out increasing amounts over the last few months to advertise their properties on Rightmove.
The number of advertisers, including developers, now stands at 18,100 – up 2.5% since the start of the year.
However, it is estate agents and letting agents who predominate: their combined membership rose to 14,850 by the end of September, a 5% increase from the start of the year.
Despite a sales market running at half speed and the corresponding boom in rental, Rightmove said that all the membership growth is coming from estate agents rather than rental-only agents.
And they are set to pay even more to be on the site. “Changes to pricing are progressing according to plan,” said the company yesterday in an interim management statement.
While hard-pressed agents may not like price rises, they will please shareholders, who have seen Rightmove shares top £8.
In reality, Rightmove has soared and so have its fees. At its latest trading statement, relating to early 2019, it listed 16,768 agency branches, received an average revenue of £1,023 per agency branch per month, saw 141m visitors on average each month, and its six-monthly revenue for the first half of 2019 was £143.9m, up from £131.1m in the same period of 2018.
Happy New Year from Estate Agent Today!