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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Dramatic slump in instructions for Purplebricks, according to data

Dramatic slump in instructions for Purplebricks, according to data

There’s been a dramatic slump in instructions for online agencies, particularly Purplebricks, according to data produced by one online firm itself.

99Home has drawn up as list of online agencies and their number of listings on the major portals on February 1 and June 1 this year.

99Home claims the slump in online agency stock is typical of the slump across the housing market; it suggests that there are 25 per cent fewer homes on the market now than six months ago, and that this has hit the inventory of all agencies of all types.

Even so, the drop in instructions for online agencies appears particularly dramatic for Purplebricks.

The headline figures produced by 99Home appear to show Purplebricks as the biggest loser, with 12,008 instructions on February 1 falling to just 7,984 on June 1 –  that’s a collapse in instructions of just over one third.

Falls for Yopa, EweMove, Express Estate Agency, Doorsteps, Signature, Sellmyhome and 99Home itself are smaller but nonetheless significant – typically around 20 per cent. You can see the full table produced by 99Homes at the bottom of this story.

The one exception appears to be Strike, formerly HouseSimple, which has seen its instructions rise around 10 per cent over the same period, from 5,226 on February 1 to 5,756 on June 1.

99Home’s data also shows that across listings from  some 80 agencies, traditional and online, the market share of online firms has dropped from 13 per cent on February 1 to 12 per cent on June 1.

Purplebricks has been asked for its response to these figures, but says it cannot comment this close to the release of its next trading statement.

Last week the Swiss investment bank UBS advised investors to sell their Purplebricks shares as the market share for the controversial agency appears to have fallen sharply.

UBS cut its price target for Purplebricks shares to 78p from 85p, with the bank suggesting possible reasons for the falling market share of the controversial online agency.

The bank’s note to investors said: “We are currently seeing strong house price growth in the UK, which may have led to more consumers choosing to use a traditional agency to help them maximise the selling price.

“Further, Strike may be winning some customers from Purplebricks. It is also possible Purplebricks may be holding back marketing spend ahead of the launch of its new pricing model.”

Purplebricks delivers its full year results to shareholders, and its next trading statement, on July 6.

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