Sharp fall in instructions for online estate agencies, particularly Purplebricks

There has been a significant drop in the number of instructions for online estate agencies, new figures provided by 99Home shows.

99Home’s analytics team gathered new listing data between February 2021 to June 2021 from Zoopla and Home.co.uk. The research reveals that there were a few online, as well as high street agents, where there was a drastic drop in the number of properties they had for sale.

Home.co.uk currently shows 290,325 homes for sale, down from 387,855 back in January of this year.

The figures from 99Home show that Purplebricks has seen the sharpest decline in listings, with 12,008 instructions on 1 February dropping to just 7,984 at the start of this month.

EYE invited Purplebricks to comment on the data, but a spokesperson said they could not issue a statement ahead of the release of its next trading statement – due soon.

YOPA, EweMove, Express Estate Agency, Doorsteps, Signature, Sellmyhome and 99Home all saw a notable drop in listings.

But Strike, formerly HouseSimple, bucked the downward trend and saw listings edge higher.

The data was collected from 80 estate agents all over the UK, which shows that listings are down by almost 25%.

Online estate agents market share has been down by 0.62% from 12.87% (Feb 2021) to 12.25% (June 2021) .

Here is the full table showing the volume of instructions per agency:

YOPA 2786 2130
Strike 5226 5756
EweMove  2315 2239
Express Estate Agency 2240 1826
Doorsteps 1426 1113
Signature North East 468 394
99Home.co.uk 395 325
Sellmyhome.co.uk 216 198

Source: 99Home

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40 Comments

  1. Hillofwad71

    Falling Bricks .Time for some changes

    The sales inventory at Bricks has been in decline for sometime  effectively  coinciding  with the arrival  of the Lesser Spotted Darvey  in Jan 2019  when listings were a heady 20,168

     

    Shrinking to 16.881 by Jan 2020 cascading downwards to  today’s 7847 .The rot had set in well below COVID

     

    What is interesting is to see the contrasting styles of CEOs Jason Tebb at OTM has made it his business to reach out and connect with his customers whereas  Darvey keeps his head well below the parapet

     

    One accusation you could never throw at the Bruces was their personal commitment to promote the company

    Unfortunately there has been no increase in rental stock  at Bricks to mitigate the fall off in sales inventory

    The  annual report is likley to be disappointing and lucky they are holding onto a huge wedge whch was effectively Axel Springer’s money Homeday have been fairly pedestrian in Germany .

     

    Recent management changes have done little to arrest the  decline in Rental Inventory, a paltry 220 today  nationwide with a whole host of Directors serving it

     

    Foxtons West End branch has more at 222.

    Woeful.

     

     

     

     

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  2. AlwaysAnAgent

    Disturber? Hybrid? Online? These are the words used by these firms to sell the mythical mirage that is the “future of estate agency”. Profits are as “virtual” as their sales pitch.

     

    The future is clear to see for online / hybrid firms: low profits, poor service for clients and virtual agents who prioritise the school run over an appraisal or a viewing.

     

    Fully staffed agents in high profile offices will gradually increase their own market shares while the bedroomers and onliners fight for the scraps.

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  3. Hillofwad71

    The  future of estate agency  ! Assigning front of house during normal business hours where instructions are won and lost to third parties .A mystery Shop
    An enquiry about the Gosforth & Jesmond branch at Ewemove which appears on Zoopla but not on their branch map on their website
      14.14
    Hi, welcome back to EweMove. If you’re thinking of selling or letting out a property I can offer a free valuation
    LINK PROVIDED TO GOSFORTH BRANCH ON ZPL Natalie
    14:15 Thanks for coming on to chat. Let me see what I can do for you.
    Visitor 14:15  Your Gosforth branch appears on Zoopla but not on your branch map Does it exist? LINK PROVIDED TO BRANCH MAP
    Natalie
    14:16 Thanks for your question. If you wouldn’t mind giving me a moment I’ll try my best to help.
    Visitor 14:16 Sure
     
    Natalie 14:17 Thanks. Please allow me a moment, I’ll be with you as soon as possible.
    Visitor 14:18 No problem.Although surpising that you are unable to answer whether a franchisee exists for the area
     
    Natalie 14:19 Thanks for waiting. This branch works from a closed office which isn’t open to the public however someone from the branch would be happy to meet you. May I ask the nature of your enquiry please?
     
    Are we still connected?
    Visitor 14:21 I understand how you work but you havent answered the question does the Gosforth franchisee in other words do you cover the Newcastle area That is the nature of my enquiry
     
    Natalie 14:22 I’m sorry about that. Yes, the Gosforth branch does exist. This branch doesn’t open to the public. May I ask the nature of your enquiry please? Perhaps I can help you here on chat.
     
    Visitor 14:22 The why doesnt it appear on your branch map? Who is the franchisee to make contact with about a potential property sale?
     
    Natalie 14:24 Thanks for your question. Please allow me a moment, I’ll be with you as soon as possible.
    Visitor 14:24 I am totally confused
    Visitor 14:25 How on earth can you sell properties if you dont know who is handling them ?
    Natalie 14:25 If you wouldn’t mind giving me a moment I’ll try my best to help. One moment please.
     
    Visitor 14:28 I will leave it there its been 15 minutes What a shambles Read

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    1. AlwaysAnAgent

      A closed office, what on earth is that! Does it contain a bed, a pillow and a duvet?

      Report
  4. bestandfinal51

    Positive listing numbers there for Strike; or what ever they are called this week.

    However, reliant on listing properties for free given you will mark up all the associated services, FS, solicitors etc which their sellers are often convinced are the best available, indicates that they devalue estate agents more than the public who instruct them.

    Of course, with all these businesses, the point to remember is that they have already been paid on these listings, and not a great deal either. Will be interesting to see once the current batch of SSTC are moved off the portals, coupled with the downturn of listings for everyone of late, what these listing numbers look like in a couple of months. I would imagine frighteningly low.

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    1. its all good

      Strike are consistently in the top 2 for online agent listings – seems they have a strong model that is attractive to sellers. Cant see the SSTC dropping off will have an impact as the results as the last couple of years have proven. With strong high street agents commenting that the “onliners” are fighting over the scraps and the online business not lasting much longer – why such negativity, why not sit back and leave the online business to it – each to their own hey? Seems the online agents have a role to play and customers who wish to instruct their services – time will tell if they are all here for the long term but for now it seems Strike are on to something – and their customers want it!  

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      1. Hillofwad71

        itsallgood

        I guess  a vendor being offered  an opportunity to sell their house for free has its merits .However the model is not a business as a quick visit to Companies House will reveal.

         

        It;s just a black hole for investors . The latest set of accounts  reveal shreholder deficits of over £26m  losses risng currently a staggering amount

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  5. Property Poke In The Eye

    Sharp fall in instructions for everyone.

    Agents are so desperate they are going as low as 0.5% to take on instructions.

    Tough times ahead if this carries on for all.

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    1. Bless You

      Nice of rightmove to increase rates.

      Needs to be done on stock numbers.

       

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    2. jan - byers

      Yes  am a developer I had 2 agents approach me last week and offer .5%

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      1. AgencyInsider

        Would you instruct an agent to sell one of your development properties for 0.5% commission?

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        1. PeeBee

          Very much doubt ‘jan – buyers’ would instruct an Agent on those terms, AI –  there are cheaper options available!

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  6. MichaelDay

    Interesting but I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    I have no concrete evidence but anecdotally the vast majority of my 850+ clients have seen a decline in instructions over the same period. It’s what happens when sales are buoyant and movers have been bringing forward plans due to SDLT incentive etc.

    if the “survey” showed a comparison between online and other models it would be more valid and valuable.

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  7. That70sGuy

    [Comment removed as it breached posting rules]

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    1. PeeBee

      I’ll bet it was a belter!

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  8. Ostrich17

    These are the numbers that matter:-

     

    PB – Over £100 million losses to date.

    Yopa – Over £80 million losses to date.

    Strike/House Simple – Over £50 million losses to date.

     

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  9. Head_Shepherd#2

    This is a very odd article and an odd piece of analysis.  At a time when properties have been selling like hot cakes, anyone with a growing inventory should be asking themselves why they’re not actually selling the houses they have listed.

    For the period in question, EweMove listed 2,073 properties (bearing in mind June hasn’t finished yet – which is another oddity, as you expect the reporting period to be in the last full month available, but hey ho!).  Compared to last year the number was 1,617.

    So growth of 28%.  But, was overall stock available For Sale down, of course it was.  As we comparing the main pandemic (lock-down) period to the most buoyant sales period for a decade.  I’d rather support our franchisees in turning over the stock and selling it than leave it languishing in an ever-growing inventory of available properties…….

    So instructions are up.  Homes for sale (ie not yet sold) are down.  No surprise.  So what is this article trying to report on or say?

    Once again, no invitation to comment from PIE and correct the data before it was published?

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    1. AlwaysAnAgent

      Is it possible they tried to contact you but your office was closed?

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    2. Hillofwad71

        HEAD SHEPHERD   “I’d rather support our franchisees ……! “Heh Ho!”
       
      What support are you providing to the following franchisees ?
       
      WOKINGHAM   ,Current Deficit of £259k .  £299k creditors due in 1 year with just 1 property for sale and 2 Directors at retirement age.
       
      HAMPSTEAD Current deficit of £90,32 with £100.075 annual creditors  due in 1 year just 5 for sale
       
      CHELTENHAM  Latest accounts due but last showing £70.904 deficit with £79,454 creditors   due in 1 year Just 2 sales instructions and 1 to rent
       
        There are currently just 10 franchisees which between them have total deficits of over £1m and annual creditors due in 1 year £1.2m .
       
         Any thoughts on the chat with your front of house and your recent recruitement drive which again contains  many with no  property experience after the staggering amount of failures?
      Some running a second business ,How can you possibly encourage that ?
       
        Recent fresh meat  Lymington and a Brighton franchisee already gone  

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  10. Flocking South

    Really lazy article this. Every agency should have stock levels lower than last year due to the demand in the market – if you haven’t a serious review of your business might be needed! How do the ‘online’ numbers compare to the high street?
     
    As for these figures showing once again that ‘the writing is on the wall for online/hybrids’ – yawn. Its the same comments from the same people that I have read almost daily for the last 4 years. In the meantime the majority of us been busy growing our business (20% market share in my area during the time this article covers with over 30 active agents with more sales agreed than any other agent) providing employment, serving and supporting our communities and laughing at the lack of knowledge and insight passed off by some as industry insight and commentary on this forum.
     
    The marketplace has matured now, there are customers who see a physical shop as a must for an agent before instructing them and there are a growing number that like the choice currently on offer. Many see investment in technology and new innovation as more important than a shop window, others don’t. Some value the experience of the agent that has operated for 30 years, others see it as stale and outdated, neither view is more valid than the other. The point is, the market place is diverse and that is great for consumers.  

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    1. Hillofwad71

      Flocking South
      Congratulations on your personal achievement  which no doubt has resulted from your hardwork and commitment.
      Give yourself a huge slap on the back  
       
      “Some value the experience of the agent that has operated for 30 years, others see it as stale and outdated, neither view is more valid than the other”
       
      I guess the  disporoportionate number of failures over 75 ,the majority of which have arrived with no experience is of little consequence then 
       
      The recruitment campaign not fully spelling out the high risks  involved   and the milions of personal  debt incurred  with some franchisees increasing debts year on year is  is a small price to pay for your success story

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  11. Fredhouse

    Interesting that Rightmove listings weren’t included in the analysis. Would this be because 99home no longer have Rightmove listings? It would also be more revealing if sold properties were excluded.

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  12. Auther Sleep

    My guess would be PB will announce a small profit next week. Nothing big but something that looks good on a headline. This will not be because of sales but due to the fact their operational costs must now be small compared to previous years due to the amount of redundancies they made as well as the volume of people leaving the business from HQ. Looking at my previous colleagues LinkedIn profiles I would guess about 80% of HQ workers have left in the last 12 months.

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  13. Tornado

    As many have said stock levels will have varied due to market but the PB debate goes beyond that. Their high attrition of senior management, a clear lack of depth in the senior team and a seemingly unclear direction of travel will lead to the inevitable outcome of limited progress if any at all. They have lost another two leaders recently and more will follow for sure. Nobody should fear this model in anyway and the public are also voting with their feet.

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  14. The Auctioneer

    Suffice it to say we all know that if PBricks is one of the agents in a sales chain, you will be lucky to get any cooperation/feedback/information/continuity from them, especially when that inter-agent coordination becomes so important as the pressure builds up towards keeping sales chains intact/interactive/committed – if only prospective sellers knew that before parting with money upfront to this “future of estate agency” – God help the profession!!

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  15. Fredhouse

    I did some of my own highly unscientific research looking at For Sale as opposed to Sold and Under Offer on Zoopla. Whilst it’s possible that those with very low % of properties listed being still “for sale” are selling their stock incredibly effectively, it could be that they leave sold listings up forever and a day to paint a more positive picture of market share? Perhaps PIE could investigate? It does potentially paint a rather different picture though, particularly if individual agent’s policy on how long to list as sold has changed between the two dates.
    Purple Bricks  7894 listings, of which 7593 For Sale   (96%)
    Yopa              2130 listings, of which  2130 For Sale   (100%)
    Strike             5756 listings, of which  1772 For Sale    (30%)
    Ewemove*     2239 listings, of which    448  For Sale   (20%)
    Express         1826 listings, of which   1079 For Sale    (59%)
    Doorsteps      1113 listings, of which     759 For Sale    (68%)
    Signature NE   394 listings, of which    190 For Sale     (48%)
    99home           325 listings, of which     202 For Sale    (62%)
    sellmyhome     198 listings, of which      96 For Sale     (48%)  
    *I admittedly got bored going through the individual Ewemove ones, so I did a dozen or so and then extrapolated out…

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    1. PeeBee

      Fredhouse – your “highly unscientific research” is exactly the same as that which 99Home have carried out in order to produce this alleged ‘article’.  The numbers simply suit their agenda – so they are hardly going to go out of their way by an inch to look for other statistics which will bu99er up their message.
       
      I had a post removed earlier today, when I stated that the headline and the “article” were both complete [Word removed as it breached posting guidelines].  I stand by that comment – and whilst mentioning it again may result in this post being deleted it does not remove the validity of what I said.
       
      It does, however, bring into question the reasons for the post being removed and what agenda is being satisfied… and why.  Surely, on a news site such as EYE, the only agenda should be the truth?
       
      According to Purplebricks’ website as at 0800 this morning, they had a total of 32175 listings, of which 7821 were not marked as “SSTC”.  However, on Zoopla the total number including SSTCs was said to be 7870, with, as you say, only around 300 of those marked as SSTC. 
       
      That’s one heck of a difference.
       
      There are several reasons why a company would remove their “sold” listings from a portal – but none of them should make any sense whatsoever to an Estate Agent; nor do they signal that the vendor’s best interests is at the forefront of the listing company’s intentions.
       
      A professional Estate Agent not only realises (and wants to take full advantage of) the immense value of showcasing each and every one of their successes to an audience that may include potential future clients; but first and foremost ensures that they are complying with industry legislation in respect of doing the best job for their vendor due to the simple fact that a sale is not done and dusted until Contracts are exchanged and “sales” can – and do – fall through.  Maintaining the property on said portals – suitably marked “Under Offer/SSTC” (in order to remain compliant with the abovementioned Legislation) ensures that any potential interested parties are still able to view the property online so that they can register said potential interest – or even to ask to view and make an offer on that property.
       
      Hiding those listings to suit the particular agenda of the listing company robs their paying customer of exposure – which could well have an immense negative impact when things don’t go to plan with the “sale” they have agreed.
       
      Questions do need to be asked – there is no doubt on that front – and there are many.  Just don’t expect to answers to any of those questions from 99Home.  Nor would I expect you to get the same answer from any two of the companies mentioned on their list I would suggest – they all have their own agendae to satisfy.  But the answers are there if you’re prepared to look hard enough… and spend enough time brushing away the bluff, bluster and *********** (credit: Jonnie) that certain companies spread themselves in thickly and heavily.
       
      I would encourage you to have fun, looking and brushing.

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      1. PeeBee

        Here’s the ‘Starter for ten’ question, Fredhouse.  it really does need to be asked.
         
        “Why, 99Home, have you released ‘data’ stating you have a “volume of instructions” equating to 325 properties, when according to your own website the number you are currently carrying is 528?”
         
        Sit down… get yourself comfortable – I’ll get the popcorn.

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      2. Fredhouse

        Hi Peebee, I have been frustrated at a distance for a number of years by the manipulation of statistics and the lack of genuine fact checking and any level of investigation by all the “trade press”. I am aware of, and have appreciated your efforts in highlighting rogue estate agents and your attempts to encourage genuine “journalism” within the trade.

        I can see an argument for removing sold listings if sold listings are being charged for!! Maybe the portals do not have a standard offering here? This would lead to a misrepresentation of market share in the scenario of sloppy journalism. For vendors, if they are removed immediately when sold, then if the sale breaks down later they are more likely to appear as new without jumping through hoops.

        @PIE

        By running items such as this, you are demeaning yourself. This is patently NOT journalism. This is recklessly publishing the agenda of one particular entity as if it is news and fact. How can you possibly justify your lack of any investigative effort? What is the point of you, if you simply publish ridiculously naive “analysis/research” with no further journalistic effort?

         

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        1. Fredhouse

          Sorry PeeBee, crosspost. But I predict we’ll both be deleted anyhow! Maybe you should set up your own property industry “news” fact-checked website?! There appears to be a gap in the market…

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          1. PeeBee

            Come over to Tw@tter – we can have a giggle discussing it there!

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        2. PeeBee

          Not all the trade press, Fredhouse – not in past at least.  Our dear ex-landlady, Frau Renshaw, was never one to bow to blatant *********** of this sort and I would suggest never published such MDT on EYE – nor in her previous tenancy at EAT – without having sought some form of substantiation, and/or questioned the material within the article itself.
           
          But those days – and that degree of decent, grass-roots journalism – sadly, appear to be gone.  Click-bait is now top trump; there is apparently little or no place for clarity, quality – or sincerity.
           
          What’s that old phrase again?  Oh, yeah –
           
          “Why ruin a good story with the truth?” (credit: Woody Allen [and several others, it seems…])

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    2. BigVillan

      Zoopla stats are inaccurate anyway with so many agents withdrawing their properties once SSTC to presumably avoid a charge?

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      1. PeeBee

        BigVillan

        “…with so many agents withdrawing their properties once SSTC to presumably avoid a charge?”

        As I stated above (post #26 or thereabouts) an Agent has a duty of care to their vendor client, and SSTC is not “Sold” until legal completion has taken place.

        The ‘definitive guide’ as to requirements for handling “SSTC” properties would appear to be RICS professional statement, UK 6th Edition (2017), which states:

        “When an offer for a sale or letting has been accepted subject to contract, you must obtain the client’s instructions as to whether you withdraw the property from the market, or continue to market it. If the client decides to continue to market the property, you must advise the potential buyer or tenant (who made the offer) of this in writing.”

        Unfortunately I would suggest that the above is so wide open to agenda-based interpretation and abuse as to be useless for its’ intended purpose – and thereby lies the problem.

        Or one of the problems, at least…

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        1. BigVillan

          My point PeeBee was that they leave them SSTC on Rightmove but withdraw them from Zoopla thus affecting the validity of the stats on Zoopla.

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          1. PeeBee

            I get that, BigVillan. 
             
            And I would suspect you are absolutely correct in your assumption as to why they are ‘removed’.  Why else would you remove what are in essence your best advertisements?
             
            But as always, someone with an agenda picks a few figures that seem to suit their purpose; fluff them up and wrap then in a few paragraphs of abysmal [Word removed as it breached posting guidelines] (credit: Jonnie) – and all of a sudden it’s “news” and we are expected to believe the [Word removed as it breached posting guidelines] being thrust at us because it’s labelled as “research”… “data”… “analysis”…
             
            Dear Frau Renshaw would have ripped this b011ocks apart with her EYEs closed.

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            1. BigVillan

              Indeed. I know for a fact Open House franchisees remove their properties from Zoopla once SSTC to avoid a charge. I assume it must be the same for PB and Yopa too as they are regularly doing it too. Makes the withdrawn report from Zoopla useless without checking Rightmove for each listing.

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              1. PeeBee

                As I said in my earlier post, there are several reasons for removing or hiding properties from the portals – and some of those reasons are tantamount to “illegal” actions dressed up as ‘marketing strategies’. 
                 
                But no-one whose job it is to regulate and police our industry is doing diddly-frickin’ squat about it.

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  16. PeeBee

    Interesting to see my comment deleted.

    No reason, EYE?  Had it in some way “breached posting rules” like the one from ‘That70sGuy’?

    At least he can hazard a guess as to what heinous crime he’d allegedly committed…

    …in my case I’m guessing it’s some chufffer with an itchy finger and an overused delete button playing censor.

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  17. PeeBee

    Back to the subject of the headline:

    “Sharp fall in instructions for online estate agencies, particularly Purplebricks”

    and to the body of what I said yesterday was a ******** “article”:

    “The figures from 99Home show that Purplebricks has seen the sharpest decline in listings, with 12,008 instructions on 1 February dropping to just 7,984 at the start of this month.”

    The “instructions” referred to are, to be precise, the number of available listings showing on Zoopla (and Home.co.uk, it appears – give or take a hundred or so).

    As above, PB’s total register as per their own website is currently running at around 32000 listings – or instructions, as they are more widely known in our industry.  For whatever reason Purplebricks have, they remove virtually all of the properties they are showing as “Under Offer/SSTC) from Zoopla.  The same cannot be said for their Rightmove listings, so it is assumed that they do not have the same agenda to satisfy on that portal.  Nor on their own website it would appear, applying the same logic.

    I’m not here to pass comment on the discrepancy between the figures; nor am I going to dwell on the apparent meteoric rise in their supposed conversion rate from ‘available’ to ‘under offer/sstc.  That is for another time and another place – but I have little doubt that it will feature heavily in the forthcoming billshutfest that is their next results presentation, due in a couple of weeks.

    Instead, I’d like to draw attention to what the headline said – and how it was absolutely on the money – but for the woefully wrong reason.

    PB have, according to Zoopla, “Just added” some 3996 properties in the period 1-25 June this year.

    Last year, they “Just added” 5839 in exactly the same period.

    2019 – the figure was 5249.  5895 in 2018… 5159 in 2017.  Sorry – I don’t have the figures for previous years to that.  But I think the figures I do have are rather telling.

    Obviously, the Zoopla figures are not representative of what they actually listed, as they include the dozens of daily #RElistings that we have come to know and ‘love’ the PurpleOnes for.  Over 900 this year – some 23% of the total sum “Just added”… and that proportion varies every year between 18 and 26%.  But none of that takes away the fact that Bricks have had a disastrous month in terms of past performance.  And that was on top of a disastrous May – which only beat the previous year because of COVID-19 restrictions bu99ering up the market for everyone… and a disastrous April for exactly the same reasons as the previous month.

    In fact – 2021 is looking a bit of a Purpleannus horribilis for them.

    And as far as I’m concerned on that front – I guess this sums it up perfectly:

    “Oh, dear… how sad… never mind” (credit: Battery Sergeant Major Williams)

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