April 28, 2015

Getagent: a 'nice way of encouraging good behavior'

Getagent.co.uk envisions itself as 'a nice way of encouraging good behavior' from estate agents.
The site has been live since January this year and has since been able to sign up Countrywide PLC as one of their partners.
Getagent functions mainly as a comparison site for agents, but also uniquely offer consumers the ability to save money on agency fees. In this exclusive podcast CTO Peter Thum-Bonanno provides us with the details of their business model and current operations in London.

January 26, 2015

OTM's biggest problem? It's a portal

Today's launch of OTM is described as a 'leap of faith'.
With the high street estate agency model in serious decline, some agents got together and decided enough is enough! So today, January 26th 1995 2015 they've launched a portal with 'state-of-the-art technology' that 'seamlessly adapts to fit all screen sizes.'
Along with this very revolutionary technology also comes strict rules requiring agents to list their properties with either Rightmove or Zoopla but not both. The reason according to OTM is that if you sell or let via their service, your property will not be mixed in with homes marketed by 'part service internet-only operators' or by private sellers or landlords. Apparently this is an advantage because every OTM marketed property comes with a 'office-based agent who are experts in their local area.' Unfortunately, the  reputation of high street agents is that they are not experts in anything at all; consumers believe that and now we have easy access to credible information via the likes of Zoopla and Rightmove.
So now OTM boast that their agents are 'experts in their local area', with the insinuation that RM and especially Zoopla are not. But when searching what local information do you get on OTM? And that's the biggest disappointment with OTM, because you get no information other than basic details with contact information for the agent. As a consumer you get way more information on  RM and Zoopla than you get on OTM!

January 22, 2015

Who stands to benefit from the ECB's QE program?

Today the ECB joins the now infamous QE party train, which launched shortly after the 2008 economic crisis, first by the US Federal Reserve, followed shortly by the Bank of England.
In theory, the QE process is supposed to create money to encourage businesses and consumers to borrow more leading to more spending and eventually economic growth.
What seemed to have happened with QE in the US and the UK  is that a 'business opportunity' was created for the 'super-rich' and the rest of the economy lagged, leading to the top 1% now owning and controlling nearly half of the wealth of the UK.
Today's QE argument from the ECB is that the eurozone is suffering from deflation. But what exactly do they mean by deflation? According to supply side economic theory, deflation is defined as 'the deterioration of the monetary standard' and occurs when prices fall. The ECB is worried that eurozone deflation will create a dangerous situation because growth will stall as businesses and consumers stop spending, waiting in anticipation for prices to to fall even further.
Deflation, according to the theory creates some confusion because commodity prices fall even though the cost of living continues to rise:
The effects of government fiscal policy and monetary policy on investment decisions are constantly changing … (s)ome business sectors will benefit more than others by the effects of these policies ...
during the deflation of 1996-2001 the dollar’s value increased by about 44%. If the Federal Reserve continues causing the dollar’s value to swing upward and downward … with increasing frequency, investors must be well-advised to stay whole and to prosper.
 ECB QE could be five times less efficient than in the US according to SocGen.
They claim the ECB had run studies suggesting that €1000bn QE will only boost eurozone price levels by 0.2-0.8 percent, which is 'five to nine times less efficient than the US or the UK.'
Something tells me this is just the beginning