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Written by rosalind renshaw

Despite a flat housing market, Connells has announced further expansion – and is on the acquisition trail.

“We are actively seeking to grow our business both through cold starts and acquisitions,” said Stuart Flavell, chief executive at Connells. 

“Connells will be opening more sales branches and further expanding its lettings division throughout the coming year.”

Lettings divisions have opened in Plymouth, Wolverhampton and Stratford-on-Avon so far this year, and two new offices were opened in May in Carterton, Oxfordshire, and Milton Keynes.

The two latest additions take the network to 156 branches. Altogether the Connells Group, which has several other brands, has 470 offices.


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    This is very bad news for sellers.

    • 08 June 2011 07:36 AM
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    Will Hicks

    Sometimes we have the loveliest buyers and I really do want to work for them but.. I am absolutely clear who my client is and my duty towards the client. Incidentally this duty does include providing a realistic market appraisal so there shouldn't be too much of a discrepancy.

    • 07 June 2011 14:22 PM
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    Perhaps they could try Countrywide, apollo must want out of that?

    and leave silly little Willie hicks alone, hes fun, always provides a laugh when he tries to be clever, tries.

    • 07 June 2011 12:53 PM
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    If you can't beat them, buy them eh!

    • 06 June 2011 19:54 PM
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    Sequence (Jones Chapman) in our area are an absoloute Joke i would have thought they would be selling rather than buying!!

    • 06 June 2011 18:23 PM
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    I apologise. I really should learn how to be witty. Maybe I should start by being really imaginative with my username. Rita Kay, maybe?

    • 06 June 2011 17:16 PM
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    You see what I mean about Will – you can see below how his sharp wit can cut you down just like that clever eh?


    • 06 June 2011 16:49 PM
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    "... old Will Hicks is a funny one, sort of an online version of the little angry bloke that stands in a pub on his own looking for a scrap. "

    ... and Jonnie is the sort of online version of the bloke who spends too long hovering in that pub's gents.

    • 06 June 2011 16:36 PM
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    WH don't you ever listen to what has been drummed before. It is the big corporates that get the industry into a mess, not the little guy's you love to hate.

    Fact: the big guys are only able to buy out the little guy because ..... wait for it..... they are not using their own money.

    • 06 June 2011 16:17 PM
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    Steady mate, old Will Hicks is a funny one, sort of an online version of the little angry bloke that stands in a pub on his own looking for a scrap.

    Mind you he’s not as daft as he sounds, he knows all about the Japanese house market and said something about shaking wasps, not sure what that was but he does sound clever, so be warned mate, he has a sharp wit and will cut you down in a second with it.


    • 06 June 2011 16:16 PM
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    Will Hicks - what a stupid comment.

    No, really.

    • 06 June 2011 15:58 PM
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    Thanks for that Jay, very informative.

    • 06 June 2011 15:02 PM
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    Many of you non EA guys are missing the point here.

    Like many of the bigger chains they are buying but are focussed on businesses with a decent rental book and even them they aren’t paying silly money, what many non EA’s seem to miss here is that a good EA business has a lettings business that delivers regular sustainable income they are not simply selling property, and the bigger chains all own hugely profitable asset management businesses that handle the sale of tens of thousands of repossessions between them they more or less control all repo sales in the UK, and particularly in the case of Connells the ‘big 4’ also generate significant fees from land and new homes

    • 06 June 2011 14:13 PM
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    which bit of

    "... if I was an EA in this terrible market [outside London off shore money washing], I'd be working for the buyers right now."

    wasn't clear ?

    • 06 June 2011 11:09 AM
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    Will Hicks, I take it from your last comment, then, that you're not an agent? Have you ever been?

    Also, in what capacity would you be working for the buyer? A financial adviser? Good luck - there are loads out there all struggling to make money. A fee-paid adviser? Excellent - what benefit would you bring, because I'm pretty damn sure that with all the other expenses buyers have to fork out for, a non-essential 'adviser' who's never even been an estate agent would be pretty LOW on their list of priorities.

    • 06 June 2011 11:03 AM
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    It's a shame the smaller guys have kowtowed to the vendors over the last couple of years. If they had been more firm and put asking prices out that were reasonable, they'd have got sales volume going through their books and the this sorry episode [transfer of market share] would have been avoided.

    "but it's our job to represent our clients & get them the best price for them" I hear you cry. As Mr Gecko said; "Follow the cash" dummies. Where does the CASH come from ? Yes, the buyer. Unless, you're not in the business of buyer & selling vendor sentiment ?

    It takes two to make a transaction, and if I was an EA in this terrible market [outside London off shore money washing], I'd be working for the buyers right now.

    • 06 June 2011 10:58 AM
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    If you can't beat them, buy them eh!

    In the town I lived in until late last year, Connells and Sequence (Roger Platt) and Hamptons and Haart and Mann & Co all had to beat the retreat and gave up trying to compete with the local agents.

    So, now, whoever has deepest pockets will survive.

    • 06 June 2011 10:56 AM
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    Local agent - Not only that, a market like the one we're in makes obvious who the stronger and weaker agents are, whereas in a strong market, everyone bar the REALLY bad makes money simply by riding the market.

    The strong agents will still be trading well and pulling in instructions, which is going to be very attractive to the larger agents; so long as of course they don't go into corporate chest-beater mode and ruin that local agent's work by firing their brand off, and sticking Connells signs all over the place.

    I would also imagine, though, that agents who are really struggling but have stock and a rental portfolio would be attractive to Connells - as long as you have a stock, you can work with it, and change the marketing and culture.

    • 06 June 2011 10:47 AM
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    It's a war of attrition with only the bigger players able to be loss leaders, I would have thought.

    This to me is the logical conclusion of the post 2008 fallout.

    • 06 June 2011 10:09 AM
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    surely a flat market is one of the best time to acquire smaller agents as this is the time when they are struggling to stay a float.

    • 06 June 2011 09:43 AM
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