I’ve been asked by a few people about latest thoughts on Belvoir re my hybrid experience. The short answer is
that the proposition for Purplebricks was never brightest in lettings so I continue to think that both Belvoir and Purplebricks are in great positions.
Belvoir/lettings is insulated from the disruption the estate agency business is seeing by the greater amount of ongoing human-to-human contact. In the 4 months of this financial year, the number of properties Purplebricks has for rent on the portals hasn’t grown – and I mean not at all, stuck very close to 300. All of the growth is from estate agency where the numbers suggest it’s on target for a doubling of instructions this year (and that’s without Australia) – and it has continued to grow even as we enter the summer lull. The number of properties Purplebricks has increased to around 8,800 or 25% and at an average listing age of 13 weeks suggests the transactions will be near enough exactly double (some assumptions in there obviously).
It seems Purplebricks can’t compete so well on the lettings side which is reassuring for letting specialists including Belvoir, which I see as a top performer in the space. Beyond that, lettings specialists should not be complacent about how proptech has the ability to disrupt including in industries with a high level of human contact. I see the biggest risk as not adopting tech that improves the service, smooths the delivery and reduces costs (which can be passed on to customers while maintaining profits) then they would be asking to have business taken away from them. Avoid that and the outlook is rosy – Purplebricks by becoming the Amazon of estate agency and Belvoir as the consolidator / driver in lettings.
(disclaimer: I’m the house broker for Belvoir)