Anthony Hilton: Why this is one housing market to stay out of
Saturday 08 June 2013
If the way to stay young is to keep repeating your mistakes then the London investment community will surely be blessed with perpetual youth if it buys into the flotation of Foxtons.
The London estate agent announced yesterday that it hoped soon to obtain a stock market listing. It is déjà vu all over again. Every cycle sees a rush of estate agency flotations and they always end in tears.
There are some businesses which should not be listed companies and estate agents are one of them. Their income is linked to the property cycle so is horribly volatile. It is of dubious quality because even in good times there is always a rival who willing to do it cheaper. It is a people business, in a business whose people are disloyal. Every boom sees the best sales teams leave their employer and start up in competition across the street. There are no assets to speak of and no customer loyalty. And finally it is an intermediary when the internet allows people to bypass intermediaries and their extortionate commissions.
The technology means estate agents must surely soon follow travel agents, motor insurance brokers and other like-minded souls down the path to oblivion.
All this does help explain why the owners, a private equity house known as BC Partners, might want to sell. It does not explain why anyone would want to buy.
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...