A regional high street estate agency that has been trading for 50 years with ten branches is to be wound up.
Howard Cundey, in Sussex, Surrey and Kent, has made nine staff redundant.
The award-winning business, which was bought by its current owners in 2008, will now re-invent itself as solely a hybrid agent – a proposition called Howard Cundey Live, which it launched a year ago.
Director Tim Foulkes said it will operate out of seven ‘hubs’, with a service centre at Lingfield, in Sussex.
Staff headcount is around 30.
Howard Cundey Live charges from £599, with an upfront fee of £975 and a pay later option of £1,500. It also offers a no sale, no fee model.
Foulkes said that as a high street agent, the business had not made changes quickly enough, and that its offices had been expensive overheads.
A statement from the company said: “The Howard Cundey brand is owned by our company, Howard Cundey Property Limited, which operates Howard Cundey Live.
“The Howard Cundey brand is operated under licence by the LLP partnership, which has been going through a period of re-structuring to adapt to the current market of reduced volume and fee competitiveness.
“With hindsight it is with regret that changes were not made at a quicker pace in Howard Cundey LLP meaning that it failed to adapt quickly enough to market forces.
“As a consequence the LLP will not continue trading. Due to this situation the licence afforded to the LLP to use the brand name Howard Cundey has been withdrawn.
“It was hoped that restructuring the LLP over a period of time would enable the business to transition to operate on a lower cost base but due to legacy constraints and a challenging market, events have transpired to work against this ambition.
“Howard Cundey Property Limited has assumed control of the brand and has taken on service delivery for lettings, management and commercial as well as operating Howard Cundey Live, a hybrid agency.
“The resulting LLP shell has no brand or trading base and will therefore cease, with a sensible conclusion through being responsibly wound up and sadly, after much careful deliberation there have been a number of statutory redundancies.
“Although the name of Howard Cundey LLP in the high street will fade away the name will not disappear and Howard Cundey Live (a ‘personal service’ hybrid estate agent available 24/7) as operated by the limited company will continue, covering sales, lettings, property management and commercial in south east London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
“Howard Cundey Live has been able to offer employment to a significant proportion of the former LLP workforce, bringing with them experience and loyalty to the brand and its customers.
“The mantra in Howard Cundey Live is to recognise that estate agency is changing at a fast pace.
“Our customers require different levels of service and fee structures and our research shows that very few customers (if indeed any) want to speculatively drop into a high street office to deal with their property sale, letting or purchase.
“Our Live offices are in accessible locations where customers can drop in by appointment so they get the time they deserve without impacting on service, creating a more efficient and effective sales operation, with cost savings for our customers to benefit from.
“Howard Cundey Live was industry recognised as a cutting-edge finalist in the 2018 Property Wire Awards held in London and the brand is set to continue its development, with business as usual.”