Purplebricks ‘leading agent’ by sales agreed as Connells breathes down neck of Countrywide

Countrywide remains the UK’s largest agent by inventory, but only just, as it has Connells breathing down its neck. Connells has slightly fewer properties than Countrywide but more under offer, as measured on one day earlier this month.

Meanwhile Purplebricks’ claim to be the UK’s third largest estate agent by inventory, overtaking the likes of LSL, has been borne out by the new report for investors from Jefferies. The report also says that Purplebricks, measured on the same day, had nine out of ten of its listings under offer.

The report – published last week and which specifically looks at portal juggling – says that Countrywide and Connells had a near-identical inventory as at March 3.

Countrywide had 18,255 properties and Connells had 18,027.

They also had very similar ratios of sales agreed to listings, with Connells just ahead at 62.3% compared with Countrywide’s 60.2%.

While Purplebricks had a significantly smaller inventory, at 10,170, it was nevertheless the third largest by some margin – ahead of both LSL and Spicerhaart.

Purplebricks also had a much higher sales agreed to listing ratio, at 89.5%, than any of the high street firms.

“On this measure, Purplebricks is the leading agent,” says the report by analyst Anthony Codling.

By numbers, Connells had the most properties under offer as at March 3, with 11,222; Countrywide had the second most with 10,977; and not too far behind was Purplebricks with 9,101.

The firm with the second highest ratio of sales agreed to listings was the Property Franchise Group – which includes Martin & Co – at 83.6%.

However, the Property Franchise Group’s portfolio was far smaller, at 3,977.

Online agent YOPA had a tiny portfolio of just 846 homes, but a sales agreed to listing percentage of 83.1%.

In terms of inventory LSL had 7,723 properties (sales agreed to listing ratio of 50.6%), and Spicerhaart had 7,020 (59.9% ratio).

Foxtons’ portfolio stood at 3,948 with a 48.8% ratio.

The league table also shows just how decisively Purplebricks has overtaken the other online agents, with the gap looking unbreachable.

Housesimple had 1,581 properties with 49.5% under offer and eMoov had 1,084 with 61.7% under offer. Tepilo, YOPA, House Network, Hatched and easproperty all had under 1,000.

The report notes that “when assessing property statistics, the practice of portal juggling will be hard to rule out completely”.

Elsewhere in the report, it cites 50 properties which it says has been juggled the most, together with the agents. The property claimed to be juggled the most – 52 times – had as its agent a brand of a high street agent.

Most of the top 50 juggles were allegedly by high street agents, with a dozen by online firms.

However, says the report, while hybrid agents have an estimated 4% market share, “portal juggling is more prevalent in the hybrid space than in the traditional market”.

It says that ten hybrid agents juggled 3,593 properties between them, but names a high street agent as being the most prolific juggler.

The report, for institutional investors and using data supplied by Rummage4 and to a lesser extent Rightmove, could be seen publicly online last week.

All the figures quoted in terms of overall numbers of property per agent and sales agreed are set to be challenged, with a second report by Jefferies due to follow.

At least one agent is known to have challenged their listing in the ‘top 50’ juggles, blaming their software, according to Rummage’s Robert May.

Industry regulator NTSEAT has warned that portal juggling is illegal and could result in prosecution.

Rightmove has introduced a 14-week rule which prevents properties being re-listed within that time period.

A Zoopla spokesperson told EYE: “We have always had extensive automated rules in place for both sales and rental listings that require them to be off the market for an extended period of time before they can be re-listed as new.

“This is precisely to prevent this type of practice by a limited number of agents.

“Where any agent deliberately attempts to circumvent these processes and manipulate their listings to mislead consumers, we have a dedicated compliance team whose job it is to identify these rogue agents and remove them permanently from our platform. We take this issue very seriously and Zoopla has led the way in providing accurate and transparent data to consumers to help them make smarter property decisions.”

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  1. John couch

    It would be interesting to ask Purple Bricks if the purchasers are all “Proceedable “

  2. AgentV

    Loads of figures in the report, but  it would have been nice to have the total number of listings on the day that the stats were taken…..and thus the percentage ‘market share’ for each company.

    Seems to me that very high sold to listing ratios compared to the average across the board of somewhere between 50 and 60 per cent is a poor indicator that can easily be manipulated ……or can also be indicative of ‘mainly older stock’ with few newer properties.


  3. Thomas Flowers

    As we approach PB year end returns, I expect to see more fantastical statistics and EBITDA reporting but after deducting all actual costs from income, less capital introduced in any form.

    Did PB make a profit?

    I would also like to ask the Bruce Bros how they can justify making £17 million by selling some shares before this years returns when their company lost around £12 million in the last year reporting figures?


    1. cyberduck46

      Thomas, it’s not PurpleBricks who are making these announcements. It’s from Jefferies.
      You really have to question the motive behind releasing these figures given the validity of data in the portals was questioned by Jefferies: “At this stage, we do not know why agents are portal juggling, although it appears to us that a by-product of the practice is that the agent appears busier than they would be in the absence of those juggles.

  4. Shaun77

    Listing to SSTC numbers are pretty pointless and rarely tell a meaningful story. I know lots of large chains that don’t mark sales agreed as SSTC so to ensure they come up in online searches and thus beef up their perceived market share amongst the public/prospective vendors (many members of the public don’t tick “show SSTC” when searching making the SSTC stock invisible to them).

    I also suspect that PB aren’t changing the status of properties to exchanged/completed (which are then removed from the portals), and leave them showing as SSTC for as long as possible, thus presenting an image of success to the public and, it would seem, city analysts.

    1. Robert May

       The reason  so much  ‘not  breaking the rules’ detail is included in the report is to  be able to exclude the OK stuff  and isolate the not OK stuff.
      It seems some people are reading the report, applying their own expert opinion of what it is showing and using factual data to make mischief. Taking any part of the report in isolation without an explanation and reporting it as fact  could  create problems for those making accusations  based on stuff they actually don’t understand and don’t know how to interpret.

      1. AgentV

        Robert, do you have the figure for the total number of properties (including sold) on the market on March 3rd when the stats were done please?

      2. cyberduck46

        Robert, looking at your site http://rummage4.property/ and clicking on the “About” button gives a HTTP 404 error:
        Server Error in ‘/’ Application.

        The resource cannot be found.

        1. Robert May

          Thank you  for the heads up on that. .property is  there but doesn’t do much more than a tool  for cross  checking properites across portals. We use that rather than take data.
          We are fixing it now.

      3. cyberduck46

        Robert, if you are questioning the validity of the data from the portals why are you now reporting the data?

        1. Robert May

          I am not reporting the data, the data in the Jefferies report came from multiple sources.  My system simply says where to look giving the RM id of the observed data and where appropriate  a Google cache to  confirm or challenge the data  at an arbitary point of time.
          My comment in this story relates to one agent who wants to understand if there is a possibility that their software is creating the anomolies.
          With close to 100 individual portals the software houses have a difficult job keeping up with the requirements of each requiring an uploader. Part of the work we are doing is to create a single portal uplaod system that becomes an industry standard.  In doing so the software houses can  enjoy a single specification they can code and test, the portals can enjoy clean consistent uploads and the agents  can be confident on the data supplied to portals is understood and controlled.

          1. cyberduck46

            >I am not reporting the data
            So it is Jefferies, not your software that is reporting the average number of juggles and the top 50 portal jugglers and number of homes For Sale, Under Offer, Sold STC, Total Sale Agreed (Under Offer + Sold STC)?
            Given your doubts about the authenticity of the data in the portals do you not think it irresponsible to allow others access to this data who may pick and choose which data they decide to trust?
            Why didn’t you just stick with Trading Standards? The motives of a City Analyst do not exactly align with Trading Standards who are looking after the public interest. Admittedly without enough resources, but they can pick and choose what they consider to be most in the public interest. 

            1. Robert May

              “Why didn’t I stick with trading standards” what do you mean by that?
              Investors have as much right to the truth as consumers,  Jefferies get paid for the advice they give, the advice has to be  as informed as it can be. They are unlikely to rely on EBITDA numbers that contradict other claims.
              Last week you reposted claims without realising they  numerically contradict other stated facts, it is because information issued by a marketing department not a mathemetician  was so obviously…. ehhh? that the numbers are being looked at in detail. Most people are waiting for the end of year numbers to show what is actually going on.

              1. cyberduck46

                >Investors have as much right to the truth as consumers
                Well what you are involved in is helping to provide a certain amount of data to certain wealthy people before it will be available to others. Data that will continue to be spun one way or another depending on the agenda of those reporting. 
                And still analysis of the data will be subjective because even if you have all this information you still cannot compare agents because there are always variables that you can’t tie down such as whether the price achieved was better or worse than if another agent had listed the property. How much commission was actually paid. The wishes of the seller.
                In the end it’s still going to be the same, you aren’t going to be able to compare Agents’ performance and spin will still rule.
                >Most people are waiting for the end of year numbers to show what is actually going on.
                Well that’s the normal way with these things unless a company issues a trading update which will typically be if analyst forecasts are going to be beaten or missed by a significant margin.
                >Last week you reposted claims without realising they  numerically contradict other stated facts
                What claims, what facts and who stated them?

                1. Robert May

                   If you wait till we have finished you will find a system that is as level as a  championship snooker table.
                  Agency is a competitive  industry, that is why  agents are attempting to give themselves adavantage over their competition, watching what everyone is doing is normal commercial good sense.
                  Spin won’t win this battle, honesty is going to win. If it doesn’t that is sad for everyone and I will put my efforts and talents to creating an agency of my own. For now I am content to do what I do and provide information to those who have a use for it.

                  1. cyberduck46

                    >For now I am content to do what I do and provide information to those who have a use for it.
                    But you aren’t making it available to those who have a use for it. We all have a use for it yet you provide it to the rich customers of Jeffries.

                    1. Robert May

                      I provide local data to agents for the area they cover for £1/ day.  National agencies such as the one you use and have invested pay exactly the same area coverage rate, as do corporates, independents, hybrids and franchises. The only people who have free access to the system are  NTSEAT and if they had a use for it (they don’t) the redress schemes. This is  B2B service so it doesn’t  have a public face until the  rating system is developed, tested and working. I do not envisage there will be a charge to the public for the rating system.
                      There is a seperate charging structure for journalists and data analysts but that, like the charging structure for agents, is uniform.

                    2. Frown Please

                      Pay for it like everyone else does?

                    3. cyberduck46

                      Robert, where can I find a description of the product you are selling and the prices for data analysts?

                    4. Robert May

                       You can’t, you aren’t an agent or an analyst. I will only treat with people I like and  who are properly motivated.
                      Don’t take that the wrong way but I chose who I do business with and  what I charge them or if I charge them.  To give you some idea; last night’s discussion was, despite  all their cash and all their profits, whether I should give free use of my software to Rightmove to help them make their site a better place for consumers and the decent agents who use it to earn a living.

                    5. cyberduck46

                      Robert, fine I thought you would say that. I only asked because ‘Frown Please’ seemed to think I was trying to get something for nothing.
                      My point of course was that you are providing the data to Jefferies and they will be passing on their information to complete strangers who are investors just like me. They won’t be thinking along any ethical lines – they’ll be looking at the ratios of PB and deciding if it’s a buy or a sell which is exactly what I would do.

                  2. Robert May

                    I can assure you that I would not allow Jefferies sight of my system if I did not think it would benefit  agency and the clients they serve.
                    It is because multiple agencies have made  advertising claims that I don’t believe can be substantiated or have business models I believe are long term sustainable that I have built a system to demonstrate and support my view point.
                    I have built a system that will provide homeowner an incorruptible guide on who sells what and where,  what prices the achieve and how. Levelling the playingfield allows cheap agents to be cheap but more importantly allows good agents to be good and receive fair reward for being better.
                    I investigated one case where a person   with less than 5 months total involvement in the industry was suddenly an expert, they misinformed a vendor in negative equity their property would sell for 166%  more than realistically it would ever achieve.  A vendor in negative equity needs professional advice and should not just have their home  put on the internet because it attracted a listing fee.
                    I appreciate you  don’t share my opinion but I don’t think  it fits with my ethics to take an estimated £25,000,000 a year from people who don’t sell and don’t move

                    1. cyberduck46

                      >I don’t think  it fits with my ethics to take an estimated £25,000,000 a year from people who don’t sell and don’t move

                      I’ve come up with an idea for an insurace type product to help the people you are concerned about but more of that later.

                      I’ve looked at the plan from Jefferies again:

                      “Working with Rummage4, we have details of every property listed for sale on Rightmove by the main corporate agents (both hybrid and traditional) since the beginning of November 2016. We are tracking the performance of each property and later in the year hope to report the efficiency and effectiveness of each agent based on the following criteria:
                      1. Listing to sale conversion rate – listing to sale as recorded in the Land Registry database.
                      2. Selling price achieved compared to original listing price – are instructions won on a high valuation and closed at a lower one?
                      3. Average time taken to sell the property.”

                      You now say.

                      “I have built a system that will provide homeowner an incorruptible guide on who sells what and where,  what prices the achieve and how.”

                      First of all it’s only major agents you have been folowing so you have to question the motive. Secondly, I think you exaggerate if the data you have available is the data Jefferies have access to.

                      What is the point in providing information on what prices are achieved and how if you don’t know whether the price achieved was the best possible? You can sell a property very quickly if you list it below the market price. There’s the fundamental flaw in your system. A property that sells immediately at under market value will look better than one reduced gradually over a period of time. You can provide different views on the data but again the weakness with data is that it all comes down to interpretation. People interpret & spin data to their own agenda and people are easily led because most people lack the skills to interpret the possible different things data tells them and the presentation can and usually is biased to support the agenda of those providing the data.

                      Is a quick sale good or bad? Is a property that has been reduced gradually over a period of time more likely to achieve the best price than one that is sold immediately? How do we know? 

                      How will your software determine the mix of difficult properties to easy properties agents have? Some properties are easier to sell so the average figure for the time taken to sell a property is not very useful unless every agent has the same mix.
                      I’m sure Rightmove will be happy to include this on their website as it will look like they’re helping customers but in the end the data is just going to get manipulated. A nice little gadget but because of the time taken between listing and registry of sale the data will always be ‘old’. I wonder whether homeowners actually use Rightmove that much before listing their property but if it turns out that anybody uses the functionality then like all systems it will be gamed. Some agents will tailor their business to achieve the best figures.

                      In the meantime the data provided to Jefferies for just the major agents will be spun one way or onother depending on the agenda of the person spinning.

                    2. cyberduck46

                      >I appreciate you  don’t share my opinion but I don’t think  it fits with my ethics to take an estimated £25,000,000 a year from people who don’t sell and don’t move
                      Is that what your software is telling you? 30000 PB customers a year are not selling?
                      In 2015 they had 4330 instructions. In 2016 they had 19200 and the broker estimates for 2017 were 41000.
                      In June 2016 Jefferies came up with a 66% conversion rate for PB. https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/6/city-analyst-disputes-purplebricks-claim-of-77-conversion-rate
                      They simply applied, based on a return to market figure of 15% provided by Rightmove, a reduction of 15% to the 77% sold STC figure that PB had provided.
                      After 15 months from the start of the period referred to you would expect plenty of those that were in either the 77% ‘sold STC’ category or 23% ‘on the market’ category to have already previously been Sold STC. So simply reducing PB’s figures by another 15% doesn’t look right to me. What about you?
                      Some spin going on if you ask me. Hard to trust the figures because they’re being spun to suit people’s agenda.

  5. Peter

    All I can say is that this does not apply to boards. There are several Purplebricks’ for sale boards in my area and not one has Sale agreed noted on them.

  6. Hillofwad71

    Statistics damn statistics !More meaningful statistic for  thirdplace Bricks  would be how many of  their  lsitings have been  on for 10 months or more  the date where those who have chosen to  defer payment have Chase knocking on the door to divi up


    That  figure is between  8-9% of  their current listngs

  7. Simon Bradbury

    As I have mentioned before on this platform, there are many different definitions of a property being “Under Offer”.

    A full asking price offer from a prospective buyer with a confirmed mortgage agreed in principle ,conveyancing contacts all detailed and a buyer on their own property who has “sold” their home (subject to contract) to a first time buyer who is really confident that they can get a mortgage themselves and has provided their solicitor contact details… may lead some agents to classify the property as “Under Offer” or “Sold Subject to Contract”. Some agents would still wait until the first time buyers mortgage details are confirmed independently before marking it as such. Others may even wait until a survey has been arranged… or carried out…others may wait for even more evidence if their experience tells them that something just doesn’t “feel right”. Ultimately of course, this decision must be executed with the express permission of the seller for whom the agent is acting.

    One thing is certain though – different agents take (often legitimately) different views as to how properties that have received an offer are tagged on various websites. This can often cause problems for agents further up a chain trying to advise their own clients and (sometimes) other parties.

    Though far from perfect, as I have also mentioned before, in my view the (relatively speaking) most accurate measure of sales success for an agent is to look at the total number of instructions (over a prolonged period of time) and compare that to the number of exchanges over that period of time. Though not impossible, it is relatively difficult for an agent to distort these figures as ,for most people most of the time, there is a common and accepted understanding of these terms. Those accepted definitions, together with Robert May’s sophisticated software should be able to present a more accurate assessment of the actual selling effectiveness for a particular agent.

    Of course in reality you may be an agent that has no interest in presenting the facts using an objective evidence based approach and may (for whatever reason ) choose to quote more ambiguous and subjective measures to illustrate how effective your actual sales performance really is.

    1. AgentV

                I totally agree with your assessment. However where do you find the information relating to ‘exchanges’, other than asking agents themselves (the information for which they are not going to give, if they have something they dont want revealed).
      When you say ‘exchanges’ do you mean registered completed sales on land registry data, or is there another way I am totally missing (which would be of great interest to me)?

      1. Simon Bradbury

         Hi Agent V
                           Unfortunately I too am simply not aware of any data source that would supply this information independently and I agree that many agents would not want this information revealed for various (sometimes perfectly legitimate) reasons. – though perhaps Robert May could assist ? 
        I’m simply observing that it is very difficult to make an accurate assessment without common and accepted definitions.
        It’s one thing for an agent to claim success in terms of instruction levels – but if they are going to claim success in actually selling, we all need to be clear how that is defined.

        1. AgentV


  8. Andyw99961

    I would also suggest the agents who choose for marketing reasons not to have SSTC on their Rightmove listings do get caught out when their sold figures are extremely poor on Rightmove intel. The “available stock” figures are obviously artificially high, but the “agreed sales” figures will be thus very poor. I am always very quick to point this out to prospective clients, as a well known chain on my patch operates in this way.

  9. Property Paddy

    Just understanding PB’ s P & L so at 10,170 instructions over what period?

    If for example this is a snap shot of their current database so some instructions are within the last 7 days and some are over 5 months old then they can’t possibly be taking on 30,000 a year !

    in fact I would hazard a guess of 20,000 which doesn’t stack up with their projected figures.

  10. Digital Expert

    ….but I thought Robert May said the industry wasn’t undergoing serious and fundamental change? This doesn’t quite support that view – so who is right?

    1. Robert May

      Spotting an iceberg and hitting an iceberg are two different things.  The industry can avoid being changed because  the effects of data sharing and data manipulations have been identified before the disruptors have disrupted.
      At present the disruptors have a contracting market share down 1.4% from a peak and are currently 12.4% market share behind where they said they would be by mid 2016.
      What this work is  proving is the effects of  data sharing with agents who are eroding  fees through significant loss leading activity that has them  close to £100m  behind their own combined predictions. With luck those who are having there data harvested and distributed will begin to understand its affects on their business and will  tighten down on the data farmers.

      1. AgentV

        market share down 1.4% from a peak
        Robert, thats great news. What is the current market share? Also do you know what the total numbers of listed properties (incl SSTC) were when the survey above was taken on 3rd March?

        1. Robert May

          Although I provide and have the information it isn’t my place to provide supplementary data  outside the numbers in this story.

  11. AgentV

    At the end of the day we all know these figures can be manipulated in various ways. Agents that use the techniques to make themselves look better, bigger, more successful etc. often do their vendors a disservice, as manipulation affects the ‘best and most effective marketing’ of properties, and ultimately the sale price.

    Also how many properties with an agent or ‘online lister’ could be registered as ‘sold’ for instance, when they withdraw from the  market or swop to a different agent or ‘lister’. How many times do you drive past a property with two boards outside, both with a sold slip on…when clearly the property can only have been sold once and by one of the two agents!

    Therefore to my mind there is only one true way of assessing sales success….and that is the land registry data proving that a completed sale has taken place for a property that was marketed. Further, for assessing proportion of marketing price achieved, the final sale price should also only be taken as a percentage of the ‘first advertised price’ by that particular agent who sold the property.

    I understand this is not a potential system without flaws….the land registry doesn’t always appear to show every completed sale for instance, but for most agents that will even itself out over time (the same as bad decisions against your favourite football team). I cannot think of a better system….if anyone else can, then great, lets hear it.

    The beauty of this statistic is that it could be worked out for every agent or lister whether they wanted it to be or not, and would give the public a reasonable assessment of what they were likely to get for their money. I for one would voluntarily participate in such a ‘data assessment’ of our performance by registering the address of every property we market on an independent adjudicator database. Would anyone else participate?

  12. fluter

    According to PB’s website, in our actual postcode area plus an additional 5 mile radius they have 67 properties listed, of which 63% remain unsold. One of our clients tried them “out of curiosity” and is less than impressed. The initial contact with the LPE was encouraging and full of promises, then it all falls apart, absolutely no contact with the LPE who promised so much and the only contact with PB has been the odd email. No feedback following the few viewings they arranged. Our client resorted to calling them purple****** (rhymes with bricks). No doubt he will be another 5 star review!

    1. AgentV

      Hi Fluter,
                    In that 5 mile radius what was the total number of properties listed? Be interesting to see what the total market share was. 

      1. fluter

        Happy to oblige AgentV. A total of 2465 properties listed on RM giving PB 2.7% market share. Of those listed, a fraction under 30% are listed as SSTC. It would be great if all PIE readers would do the same simple excercise so a more accurate picture can be independently obtained. 

        1. AgentV

          Thank you Fluter. We will try and do the same for PB’s town where their head office is based….Solihull. What was your area covered?

          1. Property Paddy

            PB have 17 instructions in my neck of the woods and 8 under offer.

            1. PeeBee

              “PB have 17 instructions in my neck of the woods and 8 under offer.”

              IF you mean 8 out of 17, then that’s a 47% SSTC/Stock ratio.  High end of ‘normal’ – but again depends what “normal” is in your patch, Property Paddy. 

              On the other hand, if PB appear to have seventeen available properties as well as the eight which appear to be under offer – 25 properties in total – then that’s down to a 32% SSTC/Stock ratio.  Low end of ‘normal’, I would suggest.

              Could you please enlighten us as to which of the two above possibles we are looking at – and also what the ‘normal’ ratio is for your patch of the Land, PP.


              1. Property Paddy

                17 in total of which 8 under offer.
                Not quite the 90% !!!!!

            2. AgentV

              PB have 17 instructions in my neck of the woods and 8 under offer.
              Property Paddy,
                                       So thats 25 out of how many total?

          2. fluter

            We’re in Monmouthshire, South Wales Agent V

            1. AgentV


  13. Woodentop

    Sale agreed is two fingers up at your competitors and bravado to impress new instructions? You can make the stats work in your favour from any direction. Historically no agent has ever sold 90% of their stock unless the stock is low which makes a mockery of how successful one is claiming to be when comparing to others (property boom is the odd one out). The proof of the pudding and the only real meaning to the business is how many SOLD and was it a true market value? Then take the income to expenditure to work out who is who and we all know where PB stand from that point of view.


    As far as internet only are concerned PB may be the biggest but when you take into account UK stock they are still a small player and little fish per rata to the local agents so it is more hype to use national figures when they target your local agents commissary! The other portals in the report confirm they are not a threat to the High Street. At the opposite end of the spectrum of stats is HS who in comparison makes their stock look pitiful and worst still, less than 50% under offer and all that TV advertising! In the current market any agent claiming 90% success rate is more in keeping with the good old days of corporate staff rigging the books to keep the boss’s happy, many so called sale agreed are not going anywhere from the very start, many will fall by the wayside during conveyancing, on lending issues or vendor/buyers pulling out for  a vast number of reasons. I would maintain that on average any GOOD agent will have a fall through rate of 15% to 20% in a year, no matter how big or small. Those that cook the books often have a fall through rate in excess of 40% some previously seen as high as 60%+.


    Lets see sold figures.


    What is PB vendor abandon rate? Then we can see what is what with the consumer non-refundable fee compared with high street no sale = no fee commissary they spout. Big claims and poor returns for investors, one day they are going to get found out? 

    1. AgentV

      Or the simplest formula;
      Cost per completed sale = total charges to vendors for listings (including deferred payments) plus investors money spent to date divided by number of proveabale completed sales.
      Then we would have a figure that could truly be compared with ‘No Sale No Fee’ averages, to give the general public a reasonable guide. After all, why they dont currently have to pay the investors part, the subsidy on the fees wont last forever. 

  14. PeeBee

    A point to either clarify – or throw into further confusion – is this listings:sales “ratio” malarkey.

    This is all about HOW figures are reported – not the figures themselves (which I suggest opens its’ very own can of worms)

    Everywhere I’ve ever worked; every set of stats I’ve ever produced show the ratio being quoted in one way –

    Number of ‘sold’ units as a %age of the total sum of units 

    Using this formula, based on the statistics provided* in the article body, the figures would be as follows:

    Purplebricks ratio of sales/listings – 47.23%

    Connells                                        – 38.37%

    Countrywide                                  – 37.55%

    * assuming that the figures are essentially correct and genuine in terms of ALL listings shown, including those numbers of ‘available’ properties and numbers of “Under Offer” and “SSTC” properties (ie ALL ongoing sales which have yet to legally complete – at which point they should be removed from the portals in any event).

    Considering the nature of the three companies and the extensive coverage of the land that they offer I would think that the above statistics fall in general line with the marketplace – third to half of stock being “sold” at any one time.

    There are Agencies that can boast way higher “sold” statistics than those above; there are those who would aspire to hit 20%.

    In some cases, the ratio can move by several key percent in one action – just by agreeing a sale; having one fall through; or handing over a set of keys to a happy new buyer who doesn’t realise to what extent they are bu99ering up an Agent’s claim to being Top Of The Pops… Close Second or an also-Ran in The Great Sale Statistics Sweepstake.

    For a change I tried to keep the above as brief and easy to swallow as possible, but, in short – if you’ve got three properties on your books and two of them go ‘Under Offer’ – sorry but you haven’t sold 200% of anything.

    1. AgentV

      Maybe I am getting this wrong PeeBee but I think the inventory quoted for PB included their SSTC, rather than the inventory figure quoted being only available properties?

      1. PeeBee

        Unless you ARE “getting it wrong”, what you are saying is that you believe PBs total available stock adds up to the grand sum of 1069 units (quoted ‘inventory’ of 10170 LESS ‘properties under offer’ of 9101)

        Unless I’m getting it wrong, that is… but I don’t think I am.

        1. AgentV

          Wells that’s the only way I could work out 89.5 per cent exactly (when rounded up to 1 decimaI places) I am afraid…. 9,101 divided by 10,170. Couldn’t see how else they could have come up with that figure. Please correct me if you know another way they calculated it.

          1. AgentV

            As everyone has stated I have no idea how that happened as it’s not what I see when looking at the listings…..unless of course there was a fantastic ‘sold juggle’ exercise carried out on the precise day of the survey 

  15. Woodentop

    It was considered that 1 in 3 sales was a viable business. For every three listed one would sell, one would be waiting for a buyer and one would fall off the cliff.

  16. Simon Bradbury

    I’m genuinely attempting to understand how Purplebricks/Jefferies can legitimately claim that…

    “… Purplebricks… had nine out of ten of its listings under offer.” and “…Purplebricks also had a much higher sales agreed to listing ratio, at 89.5%, than any of the high street firms.”

    Whether I would agree or not with how they measure StoC/Under Offer is a separate issue. Where did they get that 90% figure from?

    Sorry if I have missed the answer to this in a previous post but can anyone answer that question because, admittedly anecdotally, most of the areas I look at appear to have a ratio closer to 30%.

    Could someone point me to a location where (even) Purlebricks themselves are able to actually show online in their individual property advertising (on say Rightmove/Zoopla or their own site) a ratio 90% StoC/Under Offer.

    Sorry to be a pain Robert May – but can you explain that figure as you certainly appear to be the man in the know about these issues? Does that figure look accurate to you?


    1. Robert May

      The only way to achieve factual data is to track from listing through to registration at land registry, that is what we are working on.

      1. fluter

        Please hurry up then as many in the industry would like to see that information! (joke)

      2. cyberduck46

        So you will be able to analyse data in regards to the numer of listings, number of sales and time from listing to sale for an agent?
        Whilst that will be better than what we have now there will still be arguments over whether agents are getting a good price for their customers and I presume there will be no information on commission paid.
        For the purpose of debate, let’s assume the results are in and PurpleBricks are around average for number of sales per instruction and below average for time taken from listing to sale. Assuming I am right, given the cost for those that sell is £850, does this mean that they will save a lot of money for sellers? I would say so. A few will be dissapointed but on the whole, unless you need to sell quickly you’ll be well pleased with a lot of money saved for the public.
        Trying to demonstrate the difficulty of comparison even with the extra information.

      3. cyberduck46

        Thinking about it will it produce agents who specialise in difficult properties? Agents will get so hung up on their performance statistics that they’ll refuse to market homes that will take longer than most to sell.

      4. cyberduck46

        Or that will be the spin Agents put on their statistics. We’ve saved billions for our clients and the only reason we sell fewer and take longer to sell than some other agents is because we don’t turn homeowners away with more difficult properties to sell.

  17. PeeBee


    This article is all about “Purplebricks leading the way” in terms of sales agreed, is it not?

    As a homeowner who is currently marketing their home with the company, I see no-one in a better position than you coming forward to speak about their actual performance in respect of securing sales for their customers.

    That being the case, would you be so good as to advise the readership of your “Purplebricks experience” to date – tell us all about the journey you have set out on with them from initial contact to the most recent happenings; about the marketing strategy that was put forward by your LPE and implemented at the point of commencement of marketing and how successful it has proven to be to date – and how happy/disappointed you are to be where you are at this point in said journey.

    Many thanks.

    1. cyberduck46

      I am very happy with the service I have had from PB. They’ve done everything the LPE said they would. If my property doesn’t sell with PB then what the heck I’ll be one of the ones the model doesn’t work for and they will have actually saved me money because since I listed with them another Agent has contacted me and their commission fee has come down from 1.5% to 0.75%. Mustn’t forget the VAT of course 🙂
      My main interest in PurpleBricks though is as an investor. I want to look at the pros & cons of the model when all the positive & negative spin are taken away. I sense a lack of enthusiasm on here to actually debate the realities.

      1. PeeBee

        Well seen why you chose your posting name – you’ve pretty much cyberducked most of the question!

        “I am very happy with the service I have had from PB. They’ve done everything the LPE said they would.”

        So the LPE told you that he wouldn’t get you an acceptable offer – any offer, for that matter – in the first eleven or so weeks of marketing? And you’re happy that your £849 or thereabouts has so far brought you one viewer?

        Would you, then, be happy to pay a High Street Agent the sum of £849 for every viewer they sent over your threshold?

        “My main interest in PurpleBricks though is as an investor.”

        So is mine.  I, like countless others, have “invested” heavily in our industry.  I have invested immeasurable time… effort… genuine blood, sweat and believe me, plenty of tears for as near as damnit four decades. That’s one guy’s claim. What about all the others? Those men and women who have laboured through thick and thin, most of the time on the bones of their @r$es to keep their businesses afloat and their staff in jobs?  You see, the great majority of Estate Agents and staff aren’t multi-squillionaires.  They are serviuce suppliers, employers, genuine community mainstays.

        “I want to look at the pros & cons of the model when all the positive & negative spin are taken away. I sense a lack of enthusiasm on here to actually debate the realities.”

        Come on then – what “realities” are you referring to?

        Tell you what I’d like to debate the realities of… “the pros & cons” as you put it – your “marketing strategy”.

        No ducking this time.

        1. cyberduck46

          Just been looking at an old Analysis piece from Jefferies relating to PB’s listings between April 2015 and March 2016 where they suggested that PB’s sales conversion rate was about 66% and claimed that 1 in 3 people were paying without selling. They did concede that sales might still happen though.
          The problem I see is with the logic. He’s taken PB’s claim of a 77% listing to Sold STC conversion rate and applied Rightmove’s stat that 15% of properties that are STC come back to the market and concluded that this results in a 66% listing to sale conversion rate.
          This will be an underestimate because of the 23% properties on the market a certain number will already have fallen through so you can’t just apply a 15% reduction to the remaining figure.
          The start of the period being discussed was some 15 months earlier so there’s a decent chance the listing to sales figure is quite a bit closer to the 77%. Then factor in a certain number of the 23% that do go on to a sale.
          Would it be unreasonable on that basis to assume that 1 in 4 of PB’s listings result in a sale?
          This would leave 1 in 4 of PB’s customers having to list with a traditional agent to see if it’s the price they’re seeking that is the problem, it’s down to PB or it’s just a difficult property to sell. Again, assuming it’s PB that is the issue is somewhat biased.
          On that basis I think PB’s model does make huge savings for its customers. There will be some who go onto sell with another agent and will have paid more to sell than if they’d gone straight to that agent and some will not sell even after listing with another agent. 
          Working on 8 out of 10. This would mean that 8 customers sell for a total of £6800 and let’s say the other 2 pay an extra £4000 on average for their high street agent sale. That’s £14800 in total. Compare that to £40,000 if they all went directly to a High Street Agent.
          What am I missing? This looks like a ‘no brainer’ to me. Why are Jeffries valueing PB at 97p a share and other analysts £2.75p? Is it just that their estimates are unrealistic? Even if their estimate was corect it would still be a huge saving for the public.
          There must also be a business opportunity here for other estate agents. For a fee, offer PB customers their £850 + fee back if they list their homes at the price they value the property at and don’t sell with PB or themselves. An insurance product of sorts. Because the prices will be realistic more than 3 in 4 will sell with PB so they earn their fee. For the rest the estate agent just has to sell the property at the value they gave to save themselves having to pay out.   
          So let’s say the fee is £400, for every 4 PB customers who sign up the estate agent is earning £1600 and they have to sell less than 1 property. If they can’t sell then they have to pay the PB customer their £1250 back. PB customers who sell are paying £1250 only if they sell their home. It’s only the PB customers who insist on unrealistic valuations who lose out. 

        2. cyberduck46

          Thinking about it further, even some of the 77% of properties that were sold STC would probably have been sold STC before so Jefferies application of Rightmove’s 15% fallthrough rate to PB’s 77% figure looks even more flawed.

      2. Woodentop

        My main interest in PurpleBricks though is as an investor. I want to look at the pros & cons of the model when all the positive & negative spin are taken away. I sense a lack of enthusiasm on here to actually debate the realities.
        Fact: Money gone in = diddly sqwat has come out.

      3. cyberduck46


        I can sympathise with you being concerned about your own situation and the jobs of others in the industry as I have been in a similar situation. Online marketing both brought me success and then took it away when companies with more clout came in and copied what I was doing. Pickings became too meagre to be worth it. I look back without bitterness though and have moved on to a happy retirement. If I were younger I would have found something else to do but starting again in my mid-50’s would have been some challenge. There are no guarantees in business.

        Your focus on my situation is exactly what I’m talking about in regard to spin from the traditional Estate Agent and you are actually missing the point if you think I thought for a second that PB were making any guarantees. As a matter of fact I am in no hurry to sell because we haven’t found a property we can downsize into. Also the property is now marketed at the price one of the other agents valued it at so it’s still early days. I won’t be drawn into talking about a single property or individual customer or compare PB to good Estate Agents when there are so many about who aren’t any good.

        It is the overall benefit to those selling their properties that is the strength of PB’s model in my opinion. The figures will eventually show how many losers there are but I suspect it is a low percentage and the savings to the public overall will be massive in my opinion. I liken it a bit to insurance brokers of old. They used to earn a huge amount of commission on insurance. Along comes online direct marketing and price comparison sites and the world has changed for the better, apart from if you’re an old style insurance salesman.

        Ignoring your own personal situation, what do you think? Do you agree that apart from a small percentage, homeowners will save a lot of money by using PB?

        1. PeeBee

          “I can sympathise with you being concerned about your own situation and the jobs of others in the industry as I have been in a similar situation.”

          SORRY?  Please direct me to precisely where  in my post I express any concern whatsoever about either my position or any of the others I referred to generally?

          My concern is for the industry and its’ customers. But you will never understand or accept that, as you are looking at this purely with a focus on profit.

          “Your focus on my situation is exactly what I’m talking about in regard to spin from the traditional Estate Agent and you are actually missing the point if you think I thought for a second that PB were making any guarantees.”

          Let’s take the second part of that sentence first.  So to be perfectly clear on this, you not only saw the £849 or whatever you paid as nothing more than a gamble – but also confirm it was explained to you as such?  That the risks and consequences of not sellingalong with, I would hope, the odds of that possibilitywere explained to you fully prior to paying up your monies?

          And you still signed up.  Good for you – you’re obviously a gambler – and without gamblers, who needs odds?  Bookies, jockeys, trainers and those mechanised bunnies would all be redundant – and John McCririck would never have got to appear on CBB.

          Now to the first part of the sentence. YOUR “situation” is the hub around which the entire Universe revolves, Sir. 

          Same for EVERY vendor, landlord, buyer or tenant.  This is a dog-eat-dog society – although it is known as ‘human nature’ to make it more acceptable.

          The bloke who owns 27 Acacia Avenue doesn’t want the chap at No.33 to sell before him – that’s like an insult… a spit in the face or kick in the ‘nads.  His is the only property on the market and woe betide the Agent who begs to differ or talk about successes elsewhere!

          So your situation, and the situation of every vendor in that same situation, is exactly what we should be focusing on – because it is exactly what you should be constantly, unmovingly focused on.

          Yet you seem not to be – you’d rather widen the focus to its’ maximum and talk about the “overall benefit” to the many.  That’s very, very generous of you to be so willing to forego your own position for that of the greater good. 

          That being the case, I’ve got to say there sure ain’t many like you.

          1. cyberduck46

            >My concern is for the industry and its’ customers.
            >That being the case, I’ve got to say there sure ain’t many like you.
            Just you and I probably.  🙂
            Don’t you think most decisions are a gamble? Every time I pay for a service I’m always thinking you tend to get what you pay for so if it’s cheap there’s a reason. 
            Look at my decision. £10800 commission to the guys who came around in their big Mercs and flash suits or £850 to the guy who came around in a modest car and was as straight as a die with me. Of course it’s a gamble, whatever decision I took. Like i said earlier since speaking to the Estate Agents I’ve had one offering me half of their quoted rate. A saving of £5400 just for not choosing them in the first place.
            If you care about the industry then I suggest you deal with that situation. Imagine what homeowners who have sold before, possibly several times, would think if they found out they could have paid a lot less to sell their homes. 

            1. PeeBee

              “Look at my decision. £10800 commission to the guys who came around in their big Mercs and flash suits or £850 to the guy who came around in a modest car and was as straight as a die with me.”

              Go on then – lets look at where your decision has got you so far:  

              * Eleven weeks in – what is known as a property’s prime marketing period almost over.

              * FOUR separate price reductions – each reduction by just enough moolah to get you a bump from the portals.

              * Total reduction of seventy thousand pounds from original listing price.

              * Potential buyers watching and waiting for the next chunk to be sliced off. I reckon the next one due roughly 1 April (couldn’t be more fitting) going by the current pattern of drops every 10 or so days. 

              * £849 or whatever financially lighter.

              * Proceedable buyers – zero.

              Of course what we will never know is what might have happened had you have enlisted the services of one of whom you now seek to refer to as “the guys who came round in their big Mercs and flash suits”. 

              That pathway was never open to you as you decided to run down the path that looked like it led to the meadow with the greenest grass.

              Pity, really.  I would have loved to see the result of a head-to-head.

              Maybe, on reflection, you should have tried it – after all – what would you have had to lose?

              You’ve already shelled out your fee to PB.

              The High Street Agent would, I surmise, have worked on the usual NSNF basis.

              It would have been a simple battle of ways – old vs new – winner take all – and one way or another you would have scored.

              But now you think that one Agent rolling over on fees is a result of sorts. If you ever try to find out, let us know – but allow me to warn you that if someone is prepared to ‘give away’ half of their potential income so easily then I would have serious reservations about their negotiating skills on your behalf.

              I wouldn’t be using them – flash car, suit or whatever.

  18. cyberduck46

    So looking at how a homeowner evaluates the best way to gamble when choosing an Estate Agent. Factor in what little information most people know about Estate Agents and property sales to hopefully help you make the right choice…


    Use past experience.


    Back in July 2014 I was Executor to my mother’s estate. She owned a converted coach house which she did herself back in the early 80’s. I got a few Agents around and none of them let on that their fees were negotiable and the thought never even crossed my mind.


    One of them valued the house at £215K, then when i said it had been valued before at about £180K he suggested £200K then later on in the conversation said £195K. We had 3 other valuations £185K, £140K and £100K.


    I went with the £185K valuation because he seemed very experienced. So we agreed to list at ‘in the region of £180K’.


    All this was happening while my 2 nephews were saying to put it on at £130K. My sister trusted my judgement. More fool her!


    I listed at £180K and that was the last time I spoke to anybody who I trusted to value the property at that agency. My telephone calls about why there were no viewings were met at first with promises the market would soon pick up and then with “have you thought about reducing the price?”. It didn’t exactly fill me with confidence that they knew what they were talking about. Why was it up to me to think about the price? I’d already been given a value.


    Still nothing and I phoned up one day and the lady on the phone was shouting at one of her colleagues saying “imagine how that looks to our customers”. Well it didn’t look too good to me either, Not in respect of either of them.


    So nearly 6 months later I spoke to another agent who said £180K was fine but it needed to be marketed better so in January I decided to switch agent with a dual agency for a month and a reduction to £170K being my decision with a plan to reduce every month. The nephews were getting a bit restless but my sister was happy with my plan.


    Looking at my emails this switch seemed to take until April. Probably my fault because I was busy. The price reduction was to £165K.


    The new agencies office staff seemed much better but again I never spoke to the valuer again. After 2 months I accepted our first offer of £158K which fell through on the same day because they didn’t realise it was next door to a garage.


    I must ahve reduced to £160K at some point because after 3 months we got another offer and I accepted £150K. Some 14 moths after first being listed.


    So factor in all that experience and tell me it’s not a gamble whatever you choose to do and if it hadn’t been for me being proactive with price reductions the property probaly would never have sold.

    1. PeeBee

      For every Yin, there’s a Yang. Or countless Yangs, as the case may be.

      For every nightmare story about anything, there are many, many that tell the opposite.

      For every self-converted coach house that gives even an experienced Estate Agent the collywobbles over ‘value’ there are copious numbers of bog-standard semis, terraces and detacheds that you can put a price on to within 50p of what ‘Mr/Ms Average’ buyer will be prepared to pay for it.

      For every seller who has a need/want/reason to reduce the price of the property they are selling – whether it be once or once weekly – there are goodness knows how many who will sell at the original asking price (and many more on top of those who will tenaciously stick out for it even if it is not achievable).

      The world isn’t flat.  It is a constantly moving landscape of ups and downs; potholes and pitfalls – an ever-changing placee that never ceases to amaze and surprise.  The rules are there are no rules; the goalposts move the second you shoot toward them.

      And sorry – but you really expect anyone still reading this debate to accept without so much as a raised eyebrow you claiming that – despite having managed to get yourself to where you were in life and business only three years ago – you hadn’t a Scooby that you could simply ask an individual if they could budge on price?

      That, I’m afraid, has cost your entire argument and, I have to regretfully suggest, your credibility, dearly.

    2. PeeWee

      Damn you pair (PeeBee & Cyberduck).  I started reading and then had to finish to see how it all ends and unfortunately it doesnt end well for cyberduck.  
      When all is said and done me ole Cyberduck you are clearly a bad judge of character, a weak negotiatior and a gullible investor. 
      And in case you are wondering why;
      You have chosen the wrong agent on more than one occasion (your mothers and your current property)
      You didnt have the forsight to haggle on the fees
      You invested in PB
      And for those three reasons alone, I wont be investing any more time in anything more you have to say.  IM OUT!


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