Estate agent group Countrywide on the brink of collapse
As industry woes continue for large numbers of estate agents, the UK’s largest agency group Countrywide have seen their shares fall to an all-time low.
Just over a decade ago prior to the economic downturn, estate agents across the country found themselves in a constant state of elation as sub-prime mortgages saw large numbers of clients who would otherwise be unable to purchase a home snap up high value listed properties with a minimal deposit.
Returning to the present day, over 6000 high street estate agents have warned of their imminent demise thanks to a slow moving market and the loss of business to online rivals such as Purplebricks and Emoov.
With no need for a high street store front, lower overheads and a more streamlined approach to the business of property sales, online portals have gone from strength to strength in recent years – forcing formerly successful traditional agents to innovate, or risk becoming a forgotten part of history. And there is no greater example of this than the ongoing demise of the Countrywide group.
Valued at £1.6 billion back in 2014, the group which comprises of well-known agents Hamptons, Bairstow Eves, Beresford Adams and Entwistle Green – amongst others – has seen its value fall as low as £131 million during June this year due to its second profits warning in six months – officially losing 54% of its value since the beginning of the year.
The group also lost its long-time CEO Alison Platt after an unexpected profits warning in January reduced the company’s value by almost 20%.
While this latest news acts as a stark warning to smaller, less established agents who are also feeling the pinch, it is perhaps unsurprising given the progressively slower moving housing market due to stifled wages and continually increasing sold house prices both inside and outside the capital.
Many experts within the industry also believe that the lack of clarity regarding the UK’s future outside the EU once Article 50 is finalised in March next year has forced many potential house buyers to hold back until the future of the market is easier to gauge.
‘The housing market is dreadful,” said Anthony Codling, an analyst at Jefferies.
“Even the online challengers are finding that they cannot outperform the current conditions, and there is little to be done when homeowners stop moving. If times are hard for Countrywide we can only imagine how the rest of the market may be struggling.”
Of course, sometimes people need to sell their home fast regardless of market conditions in order to be closer to family, or simply for the sake of a new job.
These individuals, fortunately, are able to take advantage of the competitive offers available through house buying companies such as National Homebuyers who are consistently inundated by those who enjoy the prospect of a cash purchase, with sales often being completed in as little as two weeks.
Worried that you won’t sell? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.