A City analyst’s report which came up with a five-year growth model for Purplebricks has shown just how much the online market has changed. Hardman & Co issued its report in December 2015.
At that point, said Hardman, Purplebricks had over 60% market share of new online instructions.
Its graph shows Purplebricks comfortably ahead of House Network, Emoov, Tepilo, Housesimple and Hatched.
Of those firms, Hatched has since been dispatched, while Tepilo and House Network have gone into administration.
Housesimple survives, but with a totally different business model – now operating only in the north, and charging nothing to vendors, but planning to make money out of selling additional services.
Emoov went into administration along with Tepilo, but is now in new hands. Yopa was not mentioned in the 2015 comparison graph. The company didn’t launch nationwide until 2016, so came last, behind easyProperty, in a separate chart showing which agents had the most properties for sale.
Only Purplebricks is recognisable in its 2015 form – and even so, there are huge differences between then and now.
At the end of 2015, Purplebricks charged £665 plus VAT outside London, and £965 inside London. It now charges £899 and £1,399 respectively, both including VAT.
Another big change has been the shareholding: in December 2015, Woodford held 28.7% of the shares, with 17% held by then CEO Michael Bruce, its founder, and 12.6% held by other directors including co-founder and sales director Kenny Bruce.
Today, the Bruces are no longer shareholders or involved in the business, and the Woodford holding has been sharply cut.
At the end of 2015, Hardman said Purplebricks ranked fourth in a table of estate agents, behind Countrywide, Connells and LSL.
The ranking was worked out by comparing Purplebricks instructions to estimated completions by other agents. “This seems a fair comparison because Purplebricks is paid on instruction, whilst a traditional agent is paid on completion,” the report noted.
Today, Purplebricks claims to be the UK’s biggest estate agent, while its market share among online agents is generally estimated to have risen to circa 76%.
Hardman also said that by this current financial year – ending next April – Purplebricks would have 100,000 listings, 730 Local Property Experts and potential revenue of £130m, with market share of 7% and revenue of £1,300 per instruction. The forecast also predicted gross profit of £78m and EBITDA profit of £51m.
Notably, Hardman modelled other projections – up to 200,000 instructions, bringing in revenue of £260m this financial year.
Obviously there are around six months to go until the end of Purplebricks’ financial year, and so it is too early to say how its performance will compare with the analyst’s modelling of December 2015.
However, its revenue for the last financial year (ended this April) was already ahead of £130m, at £136.5m – although it chalked up losses from the disastrous overseas expansion that was not in Hardman’s forecasts.
Hardman’s forecast of £1,300 revenue per instruction this year is also roughly in line with the £1,243 reported for the last financial year.
Perhaps Hardman will get out another five-year modelling forecast . . .