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 

September 9, 2013

Could an Increase of the Minimum Wage Affect Rentals?

There is a lot of talk floating around about the possibility of raising the minimum wage. Recent strikers in New York want the amount raised from $7.25 to $15 per hour. On the Federal level, a raise hasn't been incorporated since 2009 when it was increased by $0.70 per hour. However, does an increase of wage really benefit those who are making so little? What aspects are there to consider when raising the minimum wage to help those who are impoverished survive?

1. Direct Changes - What a lot of these protestors don't realize is that by increasing the minimum wage by more than 100-percent, the price of services and goods will have to increase as well in order to compensate to pay the employees. If the prices of goods are too high to encourage sales, there will be no income to pay these employees. Layoffs would be inevitable. 

To the rental communities, home prices shouldn't be affected by these direct changes. As there are no employees to pay minimum wages to, the cost of an apartment or house rental should remain a constant. Upkeep and various services may become more expensive, but the roof-over-head itself should remain the same.

2. Cost of Living - Many organizations increase employee payroll every year to help offset the increase to costs of living. Every year, services and goods that are required to living in a home increase and these organizations pay more to help employees survive. If an increase to $15 per hour were to take place, every employee of every business making less would have to be instantly increased to make as much. This will increase utilities, services, food and a variety of other additions to living in the home. Almost everyone would surely be affected and still be unable to live comfortably as prices had to rise in unison. 

However, the roof over your head should remain the same. Unlike you, the house doesn't benefit from food or electricity. It will remain standing oblivious to the changes that are happening. Contracts are set into place to prevent increases to rent - especially when the increase doesn't affect the establishment in the same manner.

3. Greed - There are those companies and private business owners who see the increase of minimum wage as a way to bolster their own income. These individuals may call it a "cost of living" increase and can be explained by a trickle-down effect. While some of these organizations could have legitimate claims to increase prices, many have no other reason than greed. Eventually, we could be back to where we started with $15 per hour not being enough money either.

Personal greed isn't the only influence that can drive up rental costs. Perhaps the owners can't survive themselves and rely on property management as 100-percent of their income. As their living expenses increase in order to make up for the $15 per hour, the income has to increase as well. While leases can protect a renter from immediate changes, the owners could increase the monthly fees after the expiration in order to survive themselves.

There is more to a raise than just handing out a larger paycheck. Everyone can become affected in negative ways if the increase isn't gradual enough to sustain businesses. Although rental properties could be unaffected by these direct changes, the trickle down could be detrimental to the market.

Author Bio:
This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.

August 27, 2013

The case against Donald Trump

Over the weekend, NY attorney Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit for $40 million against his former friend Donald Trump. The suit alleges the The Donald's 'Trump University' is a 'sham' and that 5,000 people paid Trump $40 million to teach them 'hard sell tactics' but instead got a 'hard lesson in bait-and-switch'. 
Trump responded with a dedicated website stating his University has '98% Approval'. 
According to Trump Schneiderman’s investigation arose out of an inquiry into for-profit schools that accepted federal funding. For the past two years, Schneiderman 'spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars conducting a no holds barred, scorched earth investigation, assigning as many as ten of his staff members to interview former Trump University employees and review literally hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.' 
This really pi**ed off the Donald. Making matters worse, Trump is even more angry that Schneiderman devoted 'valuable taxpayer dollars' even though there was already a class action lawsuit against his University 'pending in California'. 
Of course, Trump is no stranger to controversy, but his recent antics have been most incredible. Starting with the bizarre offer of $5 million to President Obama last year just before the elections; followed up by the infamous Twitter freak-out after Obama was re-elected; his on-going struggle with the Scottish government concerning unfulfilled promises with his Highland project and of course the highly publicised row with a local farmer; and not to mention the legal battle with an 87 year old grandmother. 
Where has it all gone wrong for the man who taught the art of the deal he now seems in need of a lesson in the art of self-respect.

July 27, 2013

Bond Street commercial property producing record low yields

Voracious investor demand for the best London real estate is approaching record levels that could trigger a price crash in popular areas such as upmarket Bond Street, property experts said this week. The luxury shopping strip that is home to Prada, Louis Vuitton and Cartier has ultra-low yields that mark it out as the most in-demand stretch of real estate in Europe.
The price of commercial property is dictated by the yield, which is the annual rent expressed as a percentage of a property's value. Yields fall as investor demand increases and push up real estate prices. The 2.75 percent yield on Bond Street properties should fall to 2.25 percent by the end of the year and could hit the world-record low of 1.75 percent in 18 months, says David Hutchings, of property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, adding that the record was set by Taipei, Taiwan, in 2011.
Such low yields could signal the top of the property market in central London, says Michael Marx, chief executive of British developer Development Securities. "Those sorts of yields are breathtaking," Marx said. "The problem is that when you get to the top of Mount Everest there is only way to go."
Rising rents would act as a brake on price falls, but they are unlikely to prevent a drop of a third or more, with the effect in London rippling out from the epicentre of Bond Street, he added.

When Bond Street yields hit 2.25 percent they will probably be below annual returns on ten-year British government bonds, which are likely to edge up from their current 2.4 percent as the economy recovers. And when yields on government bonds climb above 3 percent, the gap will mean that low-yielding property investments look markedly less attractive. Investors typically seek higher yields from property than bonds because real estate is more expensive and time-consuming to sell and also carries the risk of becoming vacant. "Some heat will come out of the (Bond Street property) market," Hutchings said.
Global investors have spent tens of billions of pounds on London property since the financial crisis, viewing it as a safe haven amid the volatility of global equity markets and the low returns in the bond market. The current yield on Bond Street property is below the ten-year average of 3.7 percent and the 5 percent yields for the best office blocks in London's financial district and central Paris. The Cushman & Wakefield data is based on the evidence from multiple transactions, but deals are being struck at even lower yields.
"We sold an asset at a 1.9 percent yield in Albermarle Street," said Marcus Sperber, head of real estate for BlackRock in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, referring to the strip than runs parallel to Bond Street. "Markets here could be in danger of an asset bubble."

July 25, 2013

Discover affordable flats to let in Dundee

Dundee has never enjoyed a reputation as one of the trendiest cities in which to set up home. But with a £1,000,000,000 cultural-led urban renewal project underway, designed to reconnect the waterfront with the city centre, and where the new V&A museum will be housed, opinions are rapidly changing. Throw in the fact the city has made the shortlist in its bid for the UK City of Culture in 2017, and Scotland’s fourth-largest city is going places.
As you would expect from a city which has so much to offer, flats to let in Dundee can be highly sought after. Surprisingly, Dundee actually has the most affordable rents of any city in Scotland, which is why it’s never been a better time to find a property that comfortably suits your budget.
Indeed, one bed properties in the City of Discovery are snapped up for an average of £379 per month, with two bed flats in the area commanding a monthly rental fee of around £531.
Throughout this bustling city, you’ll find a wide range of flats on offer, from traditional but attractive tenement buildings, houses situated in converted jute mills (an industry Dundee is famous for and a setting that makes a spectacular home) and modern new builds.
Many of the old-style flats to let in Dundee were built in the 19th century, in response to the influx of workers as a result of the flourishing weaving industry – but that doesn’t mean the city is stuck in the past.
With two universities to cater for, Dundee is a city with a thriving population of students from all over the world. As such, it’s hardly surprising that dedicated student housing has continued to grow in the city.This expansion has moved students away from the traditional tenement properties that the city is famous for, and has led to a marked increase in available dwellings of this type.
Whatever impression you currently hold of Dundee, put it to the back of your mind – this is a city with a renewed purpose. If you are searching for a flat in Dundee, you really will be spoilt for choice thanks to the sheer quality and variety on offer. With an exciting future on the horizon, the rental market in Dundee still represents considerable value for your money.

June 26, 2013

Is London experiencing a property bubble?

Before answering that question, we should ask ourselves, what is a property bubble?
A 'bubble' within the context of an economy is defined as trade in 'high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values'.
Professor Robert Shiller, an authority on US housing defines a bubble as 'a social epidemic whose contagion is mediated by price movements.' Today's article in City AM suggests that investors should 'fear the London property bubble'. The writer concludes that owning a property in London is now a 'status symbol' for wealthy people and that property values make 'little sense'.
In my opinion this view is simplistic and for the purposes of simplicity let's assume that this writer is speaking about what is often called 'prime property' especially since he describes the London property market as a 'status symbol' for wealthy people. It is important to note that there are local markets within London that do better than others in terms of capital appreciation and investment. So if we quickly analyze London's prime markets such as Chelsea, Belgravia, Mayfair etc are they really experiencing a 'bubble'?  Or are other variables at play which factor in the capital appreciation that these markets are currently experiencing.
In any market, the factors that are critical is supply and demand. Supply creates demand according to classical economic theory. If we look at Land Registry sales volume data for Kensington & Chelsea over the past 12 months (the latest figures are available up to Feb 2013 at the time of writing), we get a graph that looks like this:
So the graph indicates that sales volume is down, in other words there are less transactions being completed. We assume there are less transactions to complete because there is less property on the market for sale. I assume this because, the Land Registry records that price or 'capital appreciation' for the same London borough has appreciated within the same time by approximately 10%:

So in other words, within the context of the property market economy  supply is down, demand is up. So what is driving demand? Professor Shiller suggests that in a bubble economy price increases and the enrichment of 'early investors' creates 'word-of-mouth stories about their success'. This stirs envy and interest from other would be investors, luring more and more people into the market, causing prices to increase further. As more people are attracted to the market successive feedback loops are created and the bubble grows.
Is this really happening in London? Or is something different at play.
It is common knowledge that what drives the London property market are international buyers.
London is viewed as a safe haven and as long as there exists political instability and financial market volatility, there will always exist strong demand for London property. That could change, if there is significant social unrest such as riots or perhaps even a terrorist attack. But these events would have to take place within a prime market for it to really slow down demand. What effect did the 2011 riots have on the London property market? A 'blip' according to the chief executive at Savills.
The Woolwich attack earlier this year did happen in London and was considered a terrorist attack. Yet no one has even dared suggest that this will slow down demand for prime London real estate.
My conclusion, property values go up and they go down, but to suggest that London property is currently experiencing a bubble is infantile and misleading from an investment perspective.

June 24, 2013

Converting Property From Residential To Commercial

When evaluating a conversion from residential to commercial use, it’s necessary to plan ahead. The first consideration should be the local council’s plans for the area as a whole. Every council will have a ‘local plan’ for the area under their control, and this maps out how development will be controlled in the period until the next plan. 

In these plans, certain areas will be designated for residential use only, and any application for commercial development will go against the planning guidelines. Since these plans are the first level of compliance required for any planning application, it’s wise to ensure that the property first falls within a suitable area. 

Some discussion with council planning officers is advisable, as an indication can usually be given at an early stage of the likelihood of consent being granted. 

If the area is suitable for a conversion, the next stage will be to secure planning consent both for the change of use and for any physical alterations to be made to the internal or external structure of the building. 

You may need to consider how your change of use will affect your neighbours, and on what grounds they might object to your application (on the grounds of increased vehicular traffic to your premises, for example). Depending on the anticipated opening hours and the type of business, there may be licencing restrictions, and again, grounds for objection from neighbours. 

In terms of physical alterations, it may be good policy to take advice from architects or building consultants, to ensure that all relevant codes and statutes are followed, appropriate to the type of business. For instance, a fast-food outlet will require certain design considerations with regard to external ducting for extractor fans, and other similar considerations. 

Licenced premises are subject to legislation with regard to storage and display, which in current form require input to the planning process from a qualified architect. 

Assuming you have all permissions in place, and can proceed with the project, make sure that you hire trustworthy builders, shopfitters, or other trade professionals. Ensure when asking them to quote, or when hiring them, that they’re members of the trade associations relevant to their trade, and that they have all suitable public liability insurance in place. 

If you have no experience of managing a conversion such as this, it might be good policy to hire a specialist project manager to oversee the process. 

Finally, if you're going to be running the business from the property once it's converted, don't forget to let the public know about it! Start planning your advertising and promotion strategy from an early stage, so that you'll have customers from the first day. 

Look into some form of opening event, perhaps with special offers for the earliest customers, and other time-restricted promotions to draw the public in. 

This article was contributed by PropertySales.com, the market-leading directory of commercial property for sale from Dynamis, the online media group also behind BusinessesForSale.com and FranchiseSales.com

June 18, 2013

Summer Property Maintenance Tips

Winter and the New Year are typically stressful periods for property managers (either private or commercial) and landlords: holiday-minded tenants are hard to reach, everyone is experiencing financial constraints and tradesmen are difficult to locate.
Summer doesn't have the same challenges involved, which makes it the ideal time to form a strategy for preparing and maintaining property in readiness for winter.

With this in mind, here are 9 tips for summer property maintenance:

1. Summer holidays? Be available and prepared

Tenants need to be able to get in touch with landlords and property managers at all times of year. Your relationship needs to be a solid one, based on timely communication, in order to future-proof against problems of a technical, financial, social or legal nature. Inform any tenants of your summer holiday plans as required, and provide them with your preferred contact details, an email address or mobile number typically being the most convenient for both parties. Request that tenants similarly provide you with travel plans and contact details in case of emergency.
If you travel, ensure you have online access and the following information to hand, whether it’s on your laptop, flash drive or in a storage cloud:
Contact details for tenants
Tenancy agreements
Rent ledgers
14 day notices

2. Tenants hand in their notice? Ensure you’re marketing-ready while abroad

If tenants give notice during the holiday season, ensure you can proactively market your property even whilst on vacation yourself in order to avoid a potential fallow period between tenancies. Have photos, advertisements and marketing plans to hand, or easily accessible online if required.

3. Summer tradesmen on tap

In summer either you or your regular tradesmen may be away from the vicinity if a property emergency arises. Prepare for a worst-case scenario by confirming the potential availability of your regular plumber, locksmith, roofer and electrician. Build up your reference list of tradesmen who will be available in case you need additional trade support.

4. Gutters and Drains

Call in a tradesman to check and clean all drains and gutters; any cracks should be repaired to prevent against blockages and breakages.

5. House exteriors

Summer is the perfect time for roof care. Replace any loose or broken shingles. Check the exterior property siding for cracks or fissures and ensure they are mended. During warmer weather, ensure any pebbles or moss which may have collected during the winter months have been cleared away.

6. Summer lawn care

If you are responsible for lawn upkeep for the property, you’ll be aware that spring and autumn are the perfect times to fertilise the lawn to prepare it for extremes of sun and frost. The arid heat of summer can result in browning, but if you have maintained solid lawn upkeep throughout the year the grass is only dried, not dead. While you can ensure the lawn is fertilised and regularly watered in dry summer weather, consider that this may result in increased growth and spread of weeds like crabgrass, and also potential heat damage and disease resulting from the humidity of moist blades. Commercial and residential property maintenance companies tend to practice regular and minimal cutting of grass in order to avoid placing stress on the lawn by cutting it too short.

7. General garden care

If you are responsible for outdoor furniture, outdoor cooking areas and equipment or any outdoor play equipment, inspect them for health and safety standards and repair or replace them as required.

8. Filter It Out

If your property has an air conditioning unit installed, you will need to ensure the filters are changed at least twice a year, and ideally every month – a clean air filtration system will be particularly appreciated by tenants in summer. Change the filter yourself or have a professional air conditioning contract inspect and maintain the system.  

9. Stormy Weather

While a sunny summer is the ideal scenario, it is worth considering that lightning storms may also be factored into the weather. Thunderstorms may increase in autumn and spring, so summer is an opportune time to ensure all the electrical appliances in your property are protected from power surges and lightning. Consider having a lightning protection system installed on your property if one is not currently in place.

Author bio:

This guest post was written on behalf of Sanctuary Maintenance, who specialise in property maintenance and facilities management services.

The lowdown on Landlord and Student home insurance

If you’re a Landlord and preparing to take on students to live in your home, or if you’re in the shoes of the student trying to find out what insurance you need, there’s a guide here for both parties. First we’ll cater for the Landlords, then the students, outlining one another’s responsibilities regarding home insurance with some useful take-away information for each.


Out of the two forms of home insurance, Building and Contents, you only must concern yourself with the Building insurance, as this is a legal requirement. Content insurance is actually optional; you are not required or obligated to take out Full Content Insurance as many landlords assume. If however you have generously furnished the property, which is quite likely if you have prepared accommodation for students, then you should estimate the value of these items together and request a quote based on this amount. You also have the option to extend a content policy to include ‘accidental damage’, which, depending on the nature of the students you selected, may be a sensible choice. For any policy that you choose, you can reduce the premiums by installing an alarm system and fire alarms.
Getting back to building insurance (the legal necessity), although each policy will differ in terms of what it covers, most policies include the following as standard:  

- Fire, smoke, explosion, lightning or earthquake
- Riots, civil commotion, labour and political disturbances or strikes.
- Malicious damage or vandalism, 
- Clearing the site in the case of complete destruction
- Storm / Flood
- Theft or attempted theft

Most policies do not cover wear and tear, maintenance, loss, or damage that happens gradually over time, .e.g. rot, corrosion, dampness. Also, most policies will not reimburse a landlord for any amount payable in respect of temporary accommodation or rent. For this reason you may wish to consider ‘Rent Guarantee Insurance’, especially if you’re relying intently on the rent collection from this property. 
Building insurance does not usually cover the breakdown of essential household services either (e.g. utility malfunctions), which is why some Landlords choose to take out ‘Home Emergency Insurance’. This provides you with cover for all contractor call-out charges, labour expenses, parts and material costs etc for a whole host of mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues. This could be a very freeing policy to have if you don’t have a letting agent in place to take care of something like an electrical blow out, especially if you don’t live within close distance of the property.


Many insurance companies consider students to be a liability when it comes to their house insurance. It’s easy to understand why; 18 year-olds that have never lived away from Mum and Dad before tend to be more likely to trash their environment while collecting traffic cones and sticking pizzas to the ceiling. Stereotypes aside, consider the following:

1. You need only concern yourself with Content Insurance. You are in no way responsible for the building insurance of the accommodation that you are renting.

2. Most Content Insurance policies include:
  • loss or damage caused by theft
  • fire
  • storm
  • flood  
  • burst pipes
  • vandalism

3. If you’re unsure as to whether Content Insurance really matters, consider the value of the possessions in your room and tally up their costs and you may be surprised by the sum total. It’s also worth bearing in mind that young people are three times more likely to be victims of burglary and one in three university students are victims of crime each year.

4. If your parents have content insurance on their own home, their policy may cover you as their offspring temporarily living away from home. Check their policy and, if you’re not covered on this policy, ask an advisor representing the retrospective insurance provider if this policy can be extended. This may result in a lower monthly cost than if you were to take out a brand new policy.

5. Your mobile phone, laptop, bicycle or other items of substantial worth such as musical instruments will probably not be included in your standard Contents cover. Enquire about these as additions.

6. If you either a house or dormitory with other students, you should each take out your own contents policy.

7. You may wish to consider paying for additional cover for ‘out of home’. Many students will carry around their laptops, iPads or electronic equipment in their rucksack – and are at risk of theft between lectures and various stops across campus.

Sometimes when individuals take out an insurance policy, they have the tendency to relax the security measures over items and possessions that are covered. It’s worth remembering that although your Content Cover will cover you for theft, your policy may not cover you for 'walk-in theft', which basically means that the thief didn’t leave any signs of a forced entry. This is a particularly prevalent note for students as you are likely to be living in a dormitory or a large communal house where lots of people can access your personal space. By tightening your own security, you ensure that you don’t get stung by this policy exception, meanwhile keeping the premiums to a minimum and working towards achieving a No Claims Discount (NCD).

London house short-lets for £100K per week

That's £100,000 and for the benefit of international readers, £100,000 is US$160,000 or €120,000. And that's per week! This is an unsubstantiated rumour and we have tried contacting the letting agent for verification. The house is 'officially' marketed at £20,000 per week; so why would somebody pay 5 times the asking price?
Well summertime in London usually means 'short let season'; where prices asking prices are sometimes double or triple standard rates. This year short-let season coincides with Ramadan which makes it even more  lucrative... here's a video of the £100K house:

June 8, 2013

5 minute analysis: Foxtons £400 million IPO valuation

BC Partners are putting Foxton's on the IPO market with the help of Credit Suisse, Numis and Canaccord Genuity. The apparent valuation is £400m. The move follows the successful floatation of Country group earlier this year. 
My 5 minute analysis is based on whether or not £400m represents value for money. 
Comparing to Countrywide, a company with 2012 turnover of £540 million and 931 estate agent branches in the UK, Foxtons at first glance is a pittance. Since the IPO Countrywide is currently now valued around £900 million. In 2012, the group's operating pre tax profit was about £63 million. 
However with just 42 London offices Foxtons recorded a pre-tax profit of £35 million in 2011, and although  it's just over half the profit at Countrywide, they did it with less than 5% of the agencies. So on the face of it, Foxtons is doing something right. 
 In terms of 'gross value per agent' we can summarize as follows: 
 a) Countrywide has 931 agents which account for 40% of the group's total revenue. That translates to about £400,000 'per agent value' based on the £900 million valuation. 
b) For Foxtons, with a £400 million valuation, and 42 agencies each agency would be worth £10,000,000. 
So what would be the basis of such a high 'per agency valuation' of Foxtons over Countrywide? 
According to KPMG, the 'overarching investment case' is to buy into a market and for that matter a company that is 'emerging from its trough'. Since 2007 financial problems for both Foxtons and Countrywide have been well documented. BC Partners admitted to a 'mistake' with their highly leveraged purchase of Foxtons in 2007. However house price trends for the UK and in particular London suggests price rises buoyed by Bank of England initiatives as well as the UK government's "Help to Buy" scheme. 
London in particular is resilient due to demand from international investors and high net worth clientele:  
“The key difference with estate agents is that they are in the front row to capture a rise in activity but also have the double exposure of the rented market in case sales don’t accelerate ... the market is beginning to factor in house price recovery and estate agencies are a perfect way to get exposure: they are not too sexy or high risk and everyone understands what they do”. 
The key question for investors to contemplate is what will make Foxtons worth so much more than their competitors. Comments & suggestions more than welcome