Sell Foxtons shares, global bank advises investors

Shares in Foxtons fell back yesterday after global bank Citigroup initiated coverage of the stock with a “sell” rating and gave it a 215p price target.

Yesterday, Foxtons’ shares were down 8p, or 3.3%, to end the day at 237p.

Citigroup said Foxtons has the strongest brand profile and margin performance of the three stocks it was examining in its note to investors on UK estate agents.

However, Citigroup expressed concerns that Foxtons is almost exclusively focused on London, where it said affordability issues may curtail sales volumes.

It also said that Foxtons had limited scope for expansion, given the management’s organic growth strategy.

However, in the same note, Citigroup started coverage of Countrywide and LSL shares, giving them both “buy” ratings and respective price targets of 700p and 545p.

It said Countrywide is top-pick in the estate agency sector, offering investors “the opportunity to invest in a scale operation” with opportunities to consolidate the market.

Citigroup said LSL came a close second.

Shares in Countrywide yesterday ended the day slightly down at 567p having started at 570p, while LSL ended the day down from 390p to 387p.

However, many shares are wobbling because of Grexit concerns


Written by: ROSALIND RENSHAW | JULY 1, 2015

Agents and landlords rise up in anger against new licensing scheme

A local authority faces the possibility of a judicial review just three months ahead of its plans to introduce Newham-style blanket licensing of all rental properties.

Landlords and letting agents in Croydon are currently being warned they must get their properties licensed or face possible legal action, following a decision made in March by Croydon Council to roll out borough-wide selective licensing.

However, that decision is now being challenged by a group of landlords, on the basis of allegedly poor consultation.

A judge is expected to rule within two weeks whether there are grounds for a judicial review of the scheme, expected to cover 30,000 private rented homes from October 1 onwards.

The new selective licensing scheme, known locally as the ‘Croydon Private Rented Property Licence’, will extend licensing to almost every house or flat let out to an individual, couple or single household anywhere in the borough. There are very few statutory exemptions.

The council says it will implement the new scheme to tackle significant and persistent problems with anti-social behaviour and to address poor property management. Before implementing the scheme, the council conducted a public consultation exercise during which 70% of private tenants and local residents said they supported the scheme whilst most landlords and letting agents who replied were opposed to the idea.

Landlords are being encouraged to apply early and benefit from a discounted fee of £350 per property from yesterday to the end of September.

After that, the fee will increase to £750 per property, which will become the highest selective licensing fee in London.

Assuming about half of properties apply early and benefit from the discounted fee rate, the scheme could generate over £15m in fees for Croydon Council, equating to £3ma year over the next five years. All the money raised will need to be reinvested , as councils are not allowed to profit from licensing schemes.

Richard Tacagni, managing director at consultancy firm London Property Licensing, said: “It is really important that the council widely publicise this new scheme to raise awareness amongst the many landlords who live outside the borough – either elsewhere in London, the country or abroad.

“I have recently spoken to several landlords who had no knowledge that their single-family rented properties in Croydon will soon need a licence.

“With different licensing criteria being adopted by each London Borough, this is becoming a major headache for landlords and causing a lot of confusion. That is why I set up the London Property Licensing website to help landlords identify what licensing requirements apply to their properties.”

A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “We are confident that our landlord licensing scheme is robust, lawful and will raise housing standards across the borough, and we’ll continue preparing to launch this scheme from October 1.”

Blandford House


Paid a visit to the lovely ladies at the Taylor Wimpey development, Monarch Gardens at Repton Park today. Another superb development and striking distance from the Town Centre too! They have 1 first floor apartment left over, £142,500 and we strongly recommend any potential purchasers to get in quickly!

The link is below for the full details for them;—plot-137

Are estate agents really the worst bosses in the UK?

Estate agents have been named as the worst bosses to work for in the UK.

Agency managers top a list of Britain’s worst bosses, ahead of chefs, events managers, recruitment managers and call centre managers.

Asda commissioned the research and found that hairdressers were a cut above the rest, with school head teachers and shop managers also scoring well, followed by cabin crew managers and building site foremen.

Individually, the worst bosses to work for are apparently Gordon Ramsay, Simon Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson, Katie Hopkins and Joey Essex.

The nation’s idea of a lovely boss is Joanna Lumley, followed by Mary Berry, Jamie Oliver, Alan Sugar (oh come on) and Ant and Dec.

We’re not quite sure how a poll that finds Alan Sugar is a real sweetie and which also names estate agents as the bosses from hell could possibly be taken seriously.

But if it’s any comfort, the poll was conducted ahead of the launch of a children’s clothing range, so we can all see the synergies in that.

If it’s any further comfort, Eye can reassure readers that the usual chief suspects – journalists – have been omitted in error.

Indeed, we would rather rise at dawn and scrub down multi-storey car parks for the minimum wage than recommend some of our previous bosses as delightful people to work for.

And no sign of banks or politicians in the poll either.


Written by: ROSALIND RENSHAW | JUNE 29, 2015

Labour leadership contender wants Right to Buy for private tenants

I have to admit that I did think it must be April 1st today! There was a comment posted at the reply section of this article suggesting that Labour clearly don’t want to win the next election either! Read on my fellow friends!

Right to Buy should be extended to private tenants, one Labour leadership contender has said while another wants local councils to compulsorily purchase sub-standard rental properties.

Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn saida private rented sector Right to Buy scheme could be funded by withdrawing the £14bn tax allowances currently given to buy-to-let landlords, using that money to finance the way that private tenants would have the right to buy their landlords’ properties at a discount.

Islington MP Corbyn said: “We know that Generation Rent faces an uphill struggle simply to get into long-term housing.

“We have seen some good ideas from Labour to establish more secure tenancies for renters. Now we need to go further and think of new ways to get more people into secure housing.”

He added that right-to-buy for private tenants could help solve the housing crisis, and that he will be launching a consultation on the policy this summer.

He said: “I believe this idea could open up the possibility of real secure housing for many currently faced with insecurity and high rents.”

Corbyn is not the first Labour MP to mention Right to Buy in the context of the private rented sector.

Earlier this month, Ealing North MP Steve Pound, in pouring sarcasm over government plans to extend Right to Buy to tenants of housing associations, said that the “inevitable logic … is to extend this to private tenants – and see what private landlords have to say”.

If Corbyn’s ideas were to succeed, private landlords would lose tax breaks afforded to other businesses and face having to sell their properties at a discount to tenants who have been in situ for three years.

Meanwhile Labour front-runner Andy Burnham wants to give local councils powers to issue compulsory purchase orders on private rented properties that do not meet a decent homes standard.

Burnham has pledged to make Labour the party of home ownership if it wins the next election.

Liz Kendall, another Labour leadership runner, has yet to set out her stall on housing. More notably, so has Yvette Cooper, the former housing minister who brought in Home Information Packs.

Full article here;

Properties being let in shortest time on record

One third of new lets are being agreed before the existing tenant moves out, says Countrywide.

The chain says that the average UK property is let within 32 days – the shortest time on record.

So far this year, it says, 33% of all new lets were agreed while the property is still occupied, up from 27% last year.

The average let agreed while tenants are in place is equal to 105% of the asking rent, equating to an average of £35 a month more than the asking rent.

In comparison, tenants moving into an empty property have more room to negotiate on the rent, knocking an average of £21 a month off what the landlord was looking for.

In London, 51% of new lets are agreed while there is still a sitting tenant in the property, up from 41% in 2014. At the other end of the scale, in the north-east a quarter of new lets are agreed before the existing tenant moves out.

Where a deal is agreed before the existing tenant leaves the property, there is an average of just six days between the existing tenant moving out and a new one moving in.

In one out of ten cases, a new tenant moves in on the same day that the existing tenant moves out.

Where a property hasn’t been let prior to a tenant leaving the property, the first week of marketing is when landlords are most likely to achieve the highest rent.

During the first seven days, the average let is agreed at full asking price, a figure which falls the longer a rental property is on the market.

The first weekend after coming on to the market is when most tenants view the property. In London’s fast-paced rental market, however, fewer landlords need to wait until the weekend to find a tenant. Twice as many lets are agreed on a weekday in London than in any other part of the country.

David Fell, research analyst, said: “In larger rental markets, more new lets are being agreed well in advance of the current tenant leaving.

“As a result we’ve seen void periods fall, with a growing number of landlords having a new tenant lined up over a month before their existing tenant leaves. While leaving some time for maintenance between tenancies is advisable, increasingly there’s just a matter of hours between a tenant moving out and one moving in.”

“In more competitive markets, the first tenant to view a home is often willing to pay a small premium to ensure the landlord takes the property off the market and that no further viewings take place.”


Written by: ROSALIND RENSHAW | JUNE 29, 2015

Places with the highest and the lowest house prices

The local authority area with the sharpest house price last year was South Bucks, rising 23% from £390,000 to £480,000.

Despite the size of the increase, South Bucks was still a lot cheaper than Kensington and Chelsea, where the median house price last year was £1,195,000.

The local authority area with the lowest house prices was Blaenau Gwent, coming in at £75,000.

Between 1995 and 2014, terrace houses made up 31% of all sold dwellings in England and Wales.

These are just sample of facts and figures taken from the ONS latest statistical bulletin, House Price Statistics for Small Areas in England and Wales, 1995 to 2014.

Report here;

Written by: ROSALIND RENSHAW | JUNE 25, 2015