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2016 half year news round up for Estate & Letting agents

09 June 2016 4843 Views
2016 half year news round up for Estate & Letting agents

As we have just passed the 6 month half way point of 2016 we thought it would be a good idea to do a roundup of all of the major news stories affecting Estate & Letting agents in the UK.





1. Stamp Duty Increase

2016 half year news round up for Estate & Letting agents


Perhaps the biggest shake up to the industry this year has been the implementation of the 3% stamp duty increase first proposed in George Osborne’s autumn 2015 budget. If any of us had hopes for some reprieve, this year’s March budget crushed them confirming that indeed all second home buyers would be affected by the changes which came into force on April 1st of this year. 

The Easter weekend saw a flurry of activity as new and existing landlords hurried to buy up what they could before the increase took hold, with many agents working long hours into the night to ensure deals were completed before the deadline. While the aim of the increase is to make it easier for first time buyers to get on the property ladder, many landlords and agents see it as yet another attack on the buy to let market which could potentially drive smaller landlords out of business. It has been suggested that the increase will have a disproportionate effect on the sale of luxury properties or those in central London as a £1.5m property for example could see charges of around 15%. 

2. Purplebricks stock market performance and the continued growth of online agents

2016 half year news round up for Estate & Letting agents


A topic which for a long time has been using up column inches, 2016 so far has seen a real change in attitudes towards online agents. The year began with Purplebricks’ first report to the city showing a 777% increase in revenue for the half year ending in October 2015, with experts predicting profits in the year to come. Although the start of the year saw Purplebricks share price drop it has since recovered somewhat, the online market space is certainly 

gathering momentum with strong growth from other players like easyProperty and emoov. We are seeing extra pressure being heaped on traditional agents as they increasingly adopt more technology to react to the rapid development of the online industry. Meanwhile Purplebricks seek to recruit more local knowledge agents and experience to allow their service to compete with the wider industry. Whatever happens, this is certainly an area to watch for the rest of 2016 and beyond.

3. The approaching EU Referendum 

2016 half year news round up for Estate & Letting agents


The entire country has been gripped by the build up to the EU referendum since a date was announced in February of this year, the property industry is no exception. The impact of Brexit on an already in limbo housing market has been a central issue for both campaigns who claim that an exit would lead to a sharp fall in house prices. In fact, the market has already been affected in a sense by some investors holding off developments until they can be certain of the UK’s economic stability (or lack thereof). 

While a fall in house prices spells good news for some and disaster for others, whatever the outcome on June 23rd, this has certainly been, and will continue to be, one of the major talking points of the industry this year. 

4. Some Agents are looking to leave OnTheMarket

2016 half year news round up for Estate & Letting agents


One of the more controversial stories to shake the industry this year is the backlash that has developed against property portal OnTheMarket. OTM claimed they would have more users than Zoopla by the end of the year. While it did indeed cut into Zoopla initially, it was nowhere near as successful as promised and Rightmove has grown even stronger as a result. 

2016 has seen increasing numbers of agents seeking to withdraw themselves from the portal claiming that they were misinformed about the site’s perceived success. Open letters have been written and action groups held this year by agents hoping for legal particulars which would allow them to split from the controversial portal. Many claim that their business’ has suffered phenomenally since joining the portal with some having sold no properties through the site. 2016 will be a key year for OnTheMarket, can it survive?

Halfway through, 2016 has already been an interesting year for estate agents and the wider property industry, providing new successes and challenges in equal measure. In this latter half of the year we will certainly start to see the effects of some of the new events and changes the last 6 months has brought and many of us wait with bated breath. So here’s to the next 6 months, may it bring you every success!

Tom Kelly, Growth & Marketing @ Homeshift

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