A leading expert on estate agency and the housing market in Australia has lifted the lid on how Purplebricks failed down under.
The always-controversial agency launched down under almost exactly four years ago today with promises to introduce cheap flat fees to an eager market, to bring “world-beating technology” to a tired industry, and to help the Australian housing market thrive.
Agency founder Michael Bruce told The New Daily newspaper at that time: “Everyday Australian people go out there to take the risk, the leap of faith, to live the Aussie dream of owning their own home, only to find when they come to sell it they’ve got no option, until now, but to fill the pockets of real estate agents with tens of thousands of dollars.”
However, 15 months ago a humbled agency announced that as a result of “some execution errors” coupled with a difficult housing market, Purplebricks Australia would shut. The same announcement revealed Michael Bruce was leaving the company.
Now Lisa Novak, director of Australian agency Novak Properties - and a familiar voice in the UK, having been interviewed on her perspective in the past - has given forthright views on what went wrong for Purplebricks.
She says it was seen down under as a “cheap and nasty” brand, failing to win the positive brand recognition in that country which it had for a period in the UK.
In an interview with Angels Media chief executive Nat Daniels, to be published on Estate Agent Today this coming weekend, Novak says: ”There wasn’t enough on the table for the agent.”
She explains that in Australia ‘proper’ agents undertake the marketing, photography, open houses, advertising and the management of the transaction right up to completion - but that Purplebricks’ model turned that on its head without positive results.
Novak says the hybrid’s reliance on Local Property Experts covering vast regions yet leaving viewings and sales negotiations to sellers led to the firm attracting the wrong type of agents.
“As a result, there was a terrible stigma attached to it. It was seen as a joke, ridiculed almost. If you saw a Purblebricks board outside a home, you laughed, you knew it wasn’t selling quickly.”
In recent weeks Purplebricks has divested itself of its final significant overseas business, in Canada, so it can concentrate on core UK activity.
You can read the full interview with Novak here.