Purplebricks says it sells three times more homes than any other agent in the UK

Purplebricks made a gross profit of £45.1m in the UK, on revenue of £78.1m, the business announced to the stock market this morning.

It also said that it sold (SSTC) 3.1 times the number of properties than the next largest UK estate agent brand in the last financial year, increasing to 3.3 times in the second half.

While it gave no numbers, it said that it also sold more houses than any other group of estate agents – meaning that it claims to have sold more properties than the likes of Countrywide, LSL and Connells with their various brands.

It added that it had the highest level of conversions to sale, sold homes faster, and secured the best price, with an average uplift of £6,000 on properties priced in the £250,000 to £300,000 range.

Purplebricks said it was number one at selling houses in the UK, with 81% of its listings sold within 12 months, and had the largest market share across all price brands up to £1m.

Average revenue per instruction rose to £1,168 in the UK.

CEO Michael Bruce insisted: “We are focused on completion not on a commission, so can offer unrivalled attention and conflict-free advice for customers.”

Reporting its full year results to the end of April this morning Purplebricks said that its profit margin in the UK was 57.7%, with an adjusted operating profit of £6.5m and EBITDA of £8.1m – up from £1.7m the year before.

All the figures were up from the previous financial year, when revenue in the UK was £43.2m.

On a group basis, for the 12 months to the end of April, Purplebricks made an EBITDA loss of £19.6m, on revenues of £93.7m – around double the group revenue of £46.7m the year before, when it chalked up group losses of £4.5m.

In Australia, it made an EBITDA loss of £11.8m, and in the US, a loss of £16m, bringing group EBITDA to minus £19.6m.

The period was marked by expansion, with Purplebricks launching in the US last September.

It said financial highlights included average income per instruction in the UK up 7%. It also ended the year with a strong balance sheet, with cash of £152.8m.

Group revenues for the current financial year are expected to soar to £165m-£185m, with Purplebricks expecting to take over 10% of market share in the UK.

Group chief executive Michael Bruce said: “We have doubled revenues in tough markets, taking market share as we continue to win over consumers to the modern way of buying and selling property.

“As the latest independent UK research by TwentyCi released July 2018 shows, we sell more of our properties and complete faster than any of the top 10 largest agencies in the country, saving consumers thousands of pounds in the process.

“We are confident that Purplebricks’ market leadership will continue, given the strength of its brand, the continuing investment into team, technology and processes and our £153m war chest for global growth, following the strategic investment by Axel Springer.

“Purplebricks’ goal to build a modern global estate agency business demonstrates unrivalled ambition and, in just four years, huge progress. We look forward to the years ahead with excitement and confidence.”

In Australia Bruce said Purplebricks had made the progress expected, with average revenue per instruction up 22% to £3,170.

In the US, it said it was “excited” by the progress it was making.

Purplebricks  said it would be “premature” to consider declaring a dividend.

City analyst Anthony Codling of Jefferies was swift to react.

He said: “Purplebricks continues to tell us it sells lots of houses, without backing up that rhetoric with actual figures. Sold Subject to Contract does not mean sold.

“Perhaps more telling is that the number of UK LPEs is now lower than it was six months ago. If the model is the lifeboat for a sinking high street does the lifeboat itself have a leak?”

He said that at the half year Purplebricks had 650 UK LPEs, and at the full year, 630.

“It seems odd to us that if Purplebricks really is the lifeboat for a sinking high street, why are there fewer people in the boat?”

He said that group EBITDA losses had widened from £4.5m to £19.6m, and said: “In our view Purplebricks’ model remains unproven and we reiterate our underperform rating on the shares.”

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43 Comments

  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    As if we have nothing better to do in this rising property market, where demand is outstripping supply.

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    1. Bless You

      Iam still waiting to hear from on the market when the great rightmove and zoopla switch off begins.. October would be good. If we want pb dead we have to kill it’s keepers.

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      1. Bless You

        Shares down 5% this morning. Price down 15% in a month. 
        I sold 5 houses over weekend. That’s same as o
        Pb selling 30 houses.. I mean listing 30 houses.
        Pity I have to pay rent and staff really but hey, at least Iam blessed. Bless me. 

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  2. ArthurHouse02

    I love how they basically just make this stuff up. We sell property faster, for more money than anyone else blah, blah, we have over 10% of the market etc. I call BS on these claims.

    I’m sure investors who have no idea about the property market buy into all this smoke and mirrors, but locally they are a shambles. and £6.5 million pound profit for god knows how many hundreds of millions of investment. That isnt great.

    To give one of these figures context. On The Market claim to have around half the properties for sale listed on its site, circa 550,000. So if we say there are around 1.1 million properties in the UK listed for sale. According to Zoopla at this time of typing Purplebricks have 19,587 properties listed, giving Purplebirck 1.78% market share.

    According to Zoopla Purplebricks of the properties listed by Purplebricks in the last 30 days, only around 200 are showing as STC/Under offer.

    As mentioned i can only state what information is available, but not only does it look like PBs market share is significantly less than they claim, it looks to be shrinking and the amount they appear to be selling is woeful

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  3. smile please

    These properties that sell within 12 months. I bet that takes into account all the other agents sell for them.

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  4. Leeds Agent

    Operating Profit Definition:

    A profit from business operations (gross profit minus operating expenses) before deduction of interest and taxes.

    So a profit but not that profit where you actually make any money….

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  5. Property Pundit

    Anthony Codling on the money again.

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    1. Thomas Flowers

      CEO Michael Bruce insisted: “We are focused on completion not on a commission, so can offer unrivalled attention and conflict-free advice for customers.”

      Should this not be ‘we are focussed on a commission, not completion’?

      ‘Commission’ meaning:

      1. An instruction, command, or role given to a person or group.

      2. Order or authorize the production of (something).

      ‘unrivalled and conflict-free advise for customers.’

      If you wish to defer your upfront ‘commission’ payment, like most proper estate agents do, you must use our woeful conveyancing partners or we will charge you £360 inc VAT for non-use immediately because we shall lose out on our eye-watering circa £400 referral fee?

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      1. ArthurHouse02

        “Conflict-free advice”…Dont they act for their vendor, the paying customer. As they dont believe their advice could be conflict free, are they stating that they dont act in the best interest in their vendor at all times? Is this why we see feedbacks stating…”I bought through PB, the LPE was amazing, she helped me get some money off the house”??

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  6. PepeM

    Big numbers, lots of claims however one critical figure is the number of LPEs. This is absolutely key to the long term success or otherwise of the business. Their own numbers suggest they are actually falling, at best not growing. As this model starts to mature evidence is building that many are unable to make a reasonable living as well as finding the 24/7 lifestyle demanded by HQ required is not sustainable. Project this forward, there is trouble ahead ! This is probably why they are desperately trying to expand overseas, much of which is clearly not going very well.

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  7. Mark Connelly

    CEO Michael Bruce insisted: “We are focused on completion not on a commission, so can offer unrivalled attention and conflict-free advice for customers.”

    How does he get away with spouting this BS unchallenged?

    They are less focused on completion than any agent in the market. Is he seriously suggesting that taking client money in advance is beneficial to the client. Whilst agents charging commission that can only be enjoyed by ensuring completion is somehow detrimental to the client.

    Investors actually display their complete ignorance of the market by endorsing his statements.

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    1. Chris Wood

      Oh, believe me, he is challenged on these claims 😉

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  8. Only saying...but

    …. they’re are continuing to buy instructions.

    You have to admire the mentality of splitting hairs to make a point. 630 single people companies (fingers crossed they’re not employees, that could really **** you up) trading under 1 brand outsell Countrywide 3.3:1? F!R!O!  Oh oh oh  but Countrywide isn’t a brand nah nah nah nah na!

     

     

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  9. Ostrich17

    So basically they have doubled turnover and quadrupled losses – how long can they keep the plates spinning?

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  10. retired-agent28

    I am no fan of PB and I understand the dismissive attitude of traditional agents.

    However, I personally wouldn’t underestimate what PB have already achieved and how their business might develop and expand.

    I can remember back in the early 2000’s being at a trade fair and asking jewelers if I could look at their websites.

    I was met with hilarity and a totally dismissive attitude with replies along the lines of “I have been in this business for X years and people will never buy jewelry online, they want to see it, touch and try it on before they buy”.

    How wrong where these traditional ‘experts’ ?

    PB have had to use a massive advertising campaign to change the way people think of paying estate agents, from on completion to upfront. Changing a consumer habit is one of the most difficult things to achieve in marketing and PB are succeeding in that.

    I am seeing more and more PB signs wherever I travel and sold signs too, and we all know that boards breed boards.

    PB are still in their infancy and this type of company can take years to make a profit as the prime motive initially is to change a habit, create volume, establish brand dominance and, critically, achieve a high level of consumer name awareness.

    I think PB will be a growing force to be reckoned with.

    Consumers told the jewelry industry they were more than happy to buy online, without trying the item on etc.

    And, ultimately, the consumer will decide how much they want a PB type of service.

    And no amount of criticism or hilarity from traditional agents will change that.

     

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    1. Property Poke In The Eye

      Lets not forget that PB, Emoov, Tepilo etc are not Estate Agents. They glorified ‘For Sale By Owner’ sites on steroids.

      The funding is being used to mislead the vulnerable public that they get the full service as an estate agency would provide.

      Unless you are getting a bespoke jewellery item made.  You can’t compare a retail market with a service market.

       

       

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      1. retired-agent28

        This is typical of a head in the sand attitude.

        The consumer doesn’t care a damn what you or other agents think about a new type of service.

        They will make their own minds up.
         
         

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        1. Property Pundit

          The more you post the less I’m convinced you were ever a frontline estate agent.

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    2. smile please

      I think you are right, there is a demand for ‘Costume’ jewelry online but i doubt real jewelry much is sold online.

      I know when i buy bits for the Mrs i still go round the jewlers, In fact just a couple of months ago i bought her an eternity ring, I would not have been happy spend the money i did online (i like to think i am the target market given my age and income).

      PB have a place in the market no doubt but its not mainstream. And as we all know finding the buyer is the easy bit getting it over the line is the hard bit.

      I have no doubt that whatever % instruction to completion they really achieve would only be one fifth of their current figure if it was left to them to progress their sales. High Street agent pick up a heck of a lot of slack and sort many issues for them.

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  11. mrtickle

    Well they obviously don’t.

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  12. cyberduck46

    Haven’t had a chance to give the announcement a good read yet but some interesting figures provided in regard to the UK market.

     

    New Users: 13,820,000 from 8,396,000 in 2017 (up 64.6%)

    Instructions: 64,376 from 41,211 in 2017 (up 56.2%)

    Average Revenue per Instruction £1168 from £1088 in 2017 (up 7.4%)

    Cost per Instruction £332 from £349 in 2017 (down 4.9%)

     

    Cost per instruction is calculated as total marketing costs including portal costs divided by instructions.

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    1. PeeBee

      “…but some interesting figures provided in regard to the UK market.”

      Very true, ducky.

      From the 2018 Results Presentation:

      Operating Profit £4.2m

      From your post on Tuesday:

      “PB stated UK operational profit for H1 2018 = £3.2M.”

      That’s a pretty p!$$-poor second half performance, ducky.  Wouldn’t get any team through to the next round.  Ain’t even got penalties to rely on when you give in at half time and try to coast.

      From the 2018 Results Statement:

      Instructions: 64376

      That’s £65.24 ‘operational profit’ PER INSTRUCTION. Or, put another way – 5.6%

      Yup – that single sentence above is the truest thing I’ve ever seen you commit to screen, ducky.

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      1. cyberduck46

        >that single sentence above is the truest thing I’ve ever seen you commit to screen, ducky.

         

        Implying that on earlier occasions I’ve not been telling the truth. Please be specific with examples and evidence.

         

        PeeBee, you’re just a big bully. What’s your problem? Go and pick on somebody else. Is this because I outed you as a fraud?

         

         

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        1. PeeBee

          “Implying that on earlier occasions I’ve not been telling the truth.”

          Nope – stating for the record that I will NEVER question that single statement.

          What I can’t figure here is that I chuffin’ AGREE with you – and you waddle up, quacking your beak off like you’ve been sent a bottle of hoisin sauce in the post.

          “PeeBee, you’re just a big bully.”

          Awww… diddums.  Ever heard ‘Sticks and stones…’ ducky?

          Words WILL NEVER hurt you or me.

          “What’s your problem?”

          I don’t have one.  I look for solutions, not problems.

          Maybe you should inspect your own ‘problems pocket’ and take out some of the heavy baggage contained therein.  Might pull you under when you next go for a paddle in the duckpond.

          “Is this because I outed you as a fraud?”

          Can’t be – because you haven’t.

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          1. cyberduck46

            >Can’t be – because you haven’t.
             
            OK then, let me remind you.
             
            On March 7th, 2018 you commented on the subject of whether somebody from out of the area should trust an Estate Agent to give an honest assessment of that area “Always – unless they already had knowledge of the area (over 90% of buyers move within a 5-mile circle of their existing location), in which case what would be the point?”
             
            On April 2nd, 2014, on exactly the same issue you stated “DON’T ask a homeowner who is selling, OR an Estate Agent – they have vested interests in telling you what you want to hear.”
             
            Looking again at your comment on March 7th, 2018 you went even further when I asked “Would you not expect that agent to tell the enquirer what they wanted to hear?” Your reply being ‘No – unless “what they want to hear” is the truth – at which point, absolutely.’
             
            I understand being caught out like this must be extremely galling for you and is no doubt why you regularly attack my postings even when it might just be to provide some interesting data to add to the article content.
             
            See comments numbers #9 & #14, with comment #24 showing a link to a screenshot of your comment from 2nd April 2014. http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/uk-estate-agents-are-on-the-frontline-of-global-disruption-claim/

             

            For a man that spends so much of your time accusing people of being dishonest this must be very embaressing for you.

             

             

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            1. PeeBee

              “For a man that spends so much of your time accusing people of being dishonest this must be very embaressing for you.”

              Not in the least, ducky – and in every stretch of the imagination certainly not as embarrassing as mis-spelling the very word you wish to suggest I should be feeling.

              Your post above suggests a gross ignorance of the Laws applicable to business and in particular to MY business, ducky.

              Without drawing you a full picture – the content of which would probably blow the top off your ickle ducky head due to its complexity, I’ll KIS and refer to one of the Commandments which basically is the matchstick-man sketch of the masterpiece:

              THOU SHALT NOT LIE.

              You asked two questions to another poster.  I gave you MY answers based on the above Commandment being the applicable Law.  

              Are you saying that I gave improper, dishonest (as per your sh!ttily-veiled insinuation) or otherwise false advice – either in 2014 or March 2018, ducky?

              Or are you just going to quack off having been #duckshot (AGAIN) and lick your wounds (AGAIN) having been proved to be a silly drake whose Purple-tinted agenda has f*cked with his ducky brain?

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              1. cyberduck46

                >Are you saying that I gave improper, dishonest (as per your sh!ttily-veiled insinuation) or otherwise false advice

                 

                I’m saying you are a fraud. A hypocritical fraud.

                 

                1) To give the complete opposite advice on a very specific topic – Dishonest.

                2) To give dishonest advice when you spend most of your time challenging others for being dishonest – Hypocritical.

                3) Passing yourself off as an honest person – Fraud.

                 

                Theory: Back in 2014 you gave good, honest advice but can no longer be honest about your industry because it would weaken your campaign against PB.

                 

                I made an exception to come back and address this but will have to continue in the future on another comments section as I’m not engaging with you on a thread everybody else has moved on from and I know you never give up until you’ve had the last word.

                 

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                1. PeeBee

                  “I’m saying you are a fraud. A hypocritical fraud.”

                  That’s your opinion – and you’re entitled to one.  Everyone has one – they’re like an @r$ehole.  Trouble is sometimes opinions aren’t derived from belief – but potential for gain… and that’s where your “opinion” comes sadly, badly unstuck. 

                  You’re trying to sing the wrong words to the tune you’ve been given to sing to, ducky; you’re trying to fit the bemoanings of a three-line dirge into a hit single with infinitely more life in it than you’re trying to throttle out of it… and you’re tone deaf and all we can hear is a vague quacking that doesn’t echo and doesn’t carry further than the end of your disingenuous beak.

                  Just in case all of that has gone over you ickle ducky head… in short – your 5h!t ain’t sticking.  To me… or to anything for that matter.  It’s sliding off as quick as you can chuck it and it’s winging it’s way back to you. 

                  In fact, wherever you leave your head – up your tailpipe (or up someone else’s – the jury is currently out on that one…) or out in the open, it’s gonna get a nitrogenous splattering.

                  “…but can no longer be honest about your industry because it would weaken your campaign against PB.”

                  Nah, sorry – you’re gonna have to draw me a better picture than that matchstick-man effort, ducky.  Please explain, in bestest Englandish you can muster, just what the chuff do you mean?

                  There’s a fatal flaw in your postings, ducky, in that every post is just like you – all feather fluffing and no body underneath to back it up.  This one is no improvement on past – and if it’s a sign of things to come you weally weally want to consider ‘retiring’ from the world of debate like you state you have in your business life – ‘cos you’re sinking fast.

                  It’s all the #duckshoot lead in your @rse pulling you under, I would suggest…

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    2. AgentQ73

      Thats about 100 instructions per LPE per year not taking anything out for new builds, 100 x £300 (guesstimate) = £30,000 pa and then they have to pay tax, ni, cars, petrol, insurances, various registrations they should have, accountants etc etc. Its a living i suppose but not much of one for 24hrs a day 7 days a week and no security.

      It surely cant be long before a disgruntled LPE tests them in court similar to Pimlico Plumbing.

      Could someone clever than me guess the costs to PB if the LPEs, Terrotory owners and viewers were employed NI, pension contributions, maternity pay, sick pay, HR etc ?

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      1. PeeBee

        “Thats about 100 instructions per LPE per year…”

        Not exactly, AQ73.  Although it reads that way, you must factor in that they’ve had a MASSIVE churn of Agents in the last year (and some say EVERY year…) – and what now appears to be 665 is a huge chunk down from a couple of months or so ago, as I’m sure someone stated they’d broken the 800 barrier (but I could be wrong about that).

        Add in another 100 or so LPEs for good measure (average) and the income drops to £25.5k per head.

        And also remember that the new bright’n’shiny replacement LPE gets bu99er all out of any outstanding listings when they take over a patch…

        …recipe for disaster?

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        1. AgentQ73

          1 LPE leaves and another LPE is expected to deal with their properties and do the viewings and not get paid a penny for it. Its almost like they are employees and are told what to do.
          That would grate somewhat if it were me, wonder if the LPE inheriting a load of vendors still provides “excellent customer service” and is “available 24/7 for viewings” for a property they wont earn a penny on.

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        2. cyberduck46

          >Add in another 100 or so LPEs for good measure (average) and the income drops to £25.5k per head.
           
          No wonder you failed your maths ordinary level.
           
          They ended the year with around 660. Don’t you think you should be using an average number of LPEs in the year for your calculations? They started the year with about 470 from memory. I think about 60 are letting.
           
           
           

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          1. PeeBee

            “They ended the year with around 660.”

            They ended the year with 630.  Can’t you read?

            “Don’t you think you should be using an average number of LPEs in the year for your calculations?”

            Care to pick a number and then work YOUR maths?  I’m sticking with mine.

            “They started the year with about 470 from memory.”

            They had 650 at H1 end.  So – they have lost 20 in 6 months PLUS (or is that LESS?  Apologies if my ‘O’-Level fail terminology lets me down…) all the others that have been seen to come and go.

            ” I think about 60 are letting.”

            Those 60 still need paying, ducky – your point is?

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    3. Woodentop

      Yep but O/A today it was announced they have lost £26million before tax and not expected to break even in the UK before 2021. Thats not a success for a company after trading for how long and with who’s money. Nothing more than a disruptor as well all know.

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  13. Property Paddy

    this is what I got from this

    A: “Purplebricks  said it would be “premature” to consider declaring a dividend”

    B: “While it gave no numbers, it said that it also sold more houses than any other group of estate agents”

    C: “Purplebricks expecting to take over 10% of market share in the UK”

    Conclusion:

    If it smells like manure

    Looks like manure

    then it probably is a complete load of manure.

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  14. KByfield04

    Could have kept this piece very short- doubled revenue, quadrupled losses.

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    1. PeeBee

      Nah – needs a second sentence.

      ‘Takes some bl00dy doing, that does!’

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      1. Thomas Flowers

        ‘The Negotiator’ article today:
        Purplebricks has spent £7 million more on advertising in the UK over its past financial year than the previous one, its annual accounts published today reveal, and predicts it will soon have a 10% share of the whole UK property market.
        During its previous accounting period for 2017 the hybrid agency spent £14 million on marketing in the UK, which over the latest period has increased to £21 million.

        £21 million marketing spend divided by 64,376 instructions = £326 per instruction.

        According to Cyberduck ‘Cost per Instruction £332 from £349 in 2017 (down 4.9%).’

        Cost per instruction is calculated as total marketing costs including portal costs divided by instructions.

        So how come PB are only adding £6 per instruction for portal and other marketing costs – does this include their ‘self-employed’ LPE’s marketing commission as it could not possibly be defined as salary payments?

        I do hope they remembered to add this £326 cost per instruction as a marketing expense and not, say, capital expenditure or other as £658 marketing cost per instruction rather than £332 per instruction is very ‘misleading’?

         

         

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  15. Property Pundit

    As the latest independent UK research by TwentyCi released July 2018 shows..’

    I think this information needs a VERY close examination.

     

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  16. Property Pundit

    ‘An independent analysis recently commissioned by Purplebricks and provided by the leading, whole of market, industry data specialists TwentyCi resulted in a number of conclusions about our performance for FY 18:

    ·     Sold more: Purplebricks sold (Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC)) 3.1 times the number of properties than the next largest UK estate agency brand (increased to 3.3 in H2)
    ·     Sold more: By the end of the financial year Purplebricks was selling (SSTC and exchanged) more houses than any other group of estate agency brands in the UK
    ·     Highest conversion: Purplebricks had the highest level of conversion to sale (SSTC) of the top 10 estate agency brands in the UK and have the best year on year improvement in conversion
    ·     Sold faster: Purplebricks sell (SSTC) properties faster than the top 10 largest estate agency brands in the UK
    ·     Complete faster: Purplebricks complete on sales faster than any of the top 10 largest estate agency brands in the UK
    ·     Secure best price: Purplebricks secure an average uplift of £6,000 on sale price (in properties in the £250,000-£300,000 range), in addition to the saving made on fees charged by Purplebricks when compared to a traditional estate agent
    ·     No1 at selling houses: 81% of listings sold (completed, exchanged or SSTC) within 12 months to April 2018
    ·      Largest market share: Purplebricks has the largest market share across all price bands up to £1m and strong growth in all price bands, unrivalled by any of the top 10 estate agencies in the UK’

    I, for one, would like to see exactly how they could reach these conclusions.

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    1. AgentV

      I do not think they care about providing evidence.

      BSOS23PC

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  17. Ostrich17

    According to the details in the report:

     

    “The revenue for the year was split 57:43 between instruction and ancillary revenue respectively (FY 2017:  70:30).  We have seen a notable shift towards ancillary as we continue to increase our focus on offering more products and choice to our customers.”

     

    This suggests that something dramatic has happened to “instruction revenue” as average revenue per instruction is only up 7.4%.

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    1. Chris Wood

      One of the most incisive posts on here.

      Instruction income is down whilst cross-selling and deferred loans to earn income is up. It remains to be seen whether the deferred loans and compulsory use of solicitors at additional cost/ administration fee for not using them is classed as tying and bundling of services and of treating the customer fairly.

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